Ramani Duraiswami New MURI Soundscape Project

Descriptive image for Ramani Duraiswami New MURI Soundscape Project

A team of researchers including the Computer Science/UMIACS Professor Ramani Duraiswami, Associate Chair for Graduate Education received a 2022 Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) award from the Department of Defense. 

The project titled, “Learning to mine a soundscape,” is led by a University of Maryland alum, Mounya Elhilali, who is currently a professor in the Department of  Electrical and Computer Engineering at Johns Hopkins University (JHU). Professor Shihab Shamma from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Institute for Systems Research is also participating as a co-PI on the project.

The 5-year, $7.5M  project is one of 28 five-year basic research MURI’s awarded to 63 U.S. academic institutions by the Department of Defense for a total of $195 million in the Fiscal Year 2022 funding.

“By supporting teams whose members have diverse sets of expertise, the MURI program acknowledges that the complexities of modern science and engineering challenges often intersect more than one discipline and require creative and diverse approaches to tackle these problems,” said Dr. Bindu Nair, Director, Basic Research Office, Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OUSD (R&E). “This cross-fertilization of ideas can accelerate research progress to enable more rapid R&D breakthroughs and hasten the transition of basic research findings to practical application.”

The goal of the project is to understand how animals (including humans) understand their environment using their hearing and to replicate this learning in data-driven approaches. Professor Duraiswami will work closely with researchers at JHU in developing auditory virtual reality that will be used to assess how humans learn a soundscape, and work with researchers at Carnegie Mellon University to create machine learning datasets and algorithms to mimic this learning computationally. 


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