Technical Council & Committees

AES 121st Convention Heyser Lecture

Heyser Memorial Lecture
AES 121st Convention
Moscone Center - San Francisco, CA, USA
Friday, October 6, 2006 - 6:15-7:30pm


History and Practice in Digital Sound Synthesis
by Julius O. Smith III

Julius O. Smith III

The Richard C. Heyser distinguished lecturer for the 121st AES Convention is Julius O. Smith. For the past three decades he has been with the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA), and is formally a Professor of Music and Associate Professor (by courtesy) of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University. He received the BS/EE degree from Rice University (Control, Circuits, and Communication) in 1975, and the PhD degrees in EE from Stanford University (Information Systems Lab) in 1983. He worked in the Signal Processing Department at ESL, Inc., in Sunnyvale, CA, on systems for digital communications, in the the Adaptive Systems Department at Systems Control Technology, Inc., in Palo Alto, CA, on problems in adaptive filtering and spectral estimation, and at NeXT Computer, Inc., where he was responsible for sound, music, and signal processing software for the NeXT computer workstation. Prof. Smith's teaching and research pertain to music and audio applications of signal processing. Prof. Smith is a Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America, a member of the AES and IEEE, and has served for many years on the JAES Review Board. He is the author of four online books and numerous research publications in his field. For further information, see

"History and Practice in Digital Sound Synthesis"

This presentation will review some of the history, methods, and past/present/future applications of digital sound synthesis, including sound examples. The full history spans approximately half a century, starting with software developed by Max Mathews and others at Bell Laboratories in the 1950s. While this talk will focus mainly on musical sound synthesis, connections with the parallel field of audio coding will be noted along the way.

The presentation will be followed by a reception hosted by the AES Technical Council.

Download PDF file of the presentation.

AES - Audio Engineering Society