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 A better way to listen underwater

John Buck, David Hague, Robert Randall

Pictured, L-R, David Hague, Prof. John Buck, Robert Randall. 

Yes, that's a Slinky.

Prof. John Buck, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), uses them "as demos in teaching and talking about acoustics to help students visualize certain kinds of sound waves better."

This is a great opportunity for ECE graduate students to develop exciting new array designs for the next generation of sonar systems.
- Prof. John Buck

Prof. Buck is an expert in underwater acoustic signal processing. His most recent research project is exploring new ways to use underwater microphones—called hydrophones—in arrays that can locate underwater sound sources.

Vital to homeland security, energy exploration, tracking the marine environment

Funded by the U.S. Office of Naval Research, "Co-Prime Sensor Array Signal Processing" is a five-year, $743,000 project that is a collaboration between Prof. Buck and Prof. Kathleen Wage of George Mason University.

Underwater hydrophone arrays are essential for many areas of ocean acoustics, including homeland security, seismic energy exploration, and environmental tracking of marine mammals.

The project focuses on ways to use fewer hydrophones to get the same performance.

"This is important," said Prof. Buck, "because the hydrophones are the main cost in the system. Reducing the number we require reduces the cost of the system substantially. The larger the number of hydrophones, the harder the system is to maintain, and more prone to failure."

Opportunities for research at the forefront of signal processing and acoustics

Robert's and David's achievements are significant. To put it in perspective: they took both top places in a field that included outstanding students from institutions across the U.S.
- Prof. John Buck

Prof. Buck's research focuses on applications of signal processing to underwater acoustics, including man-made sounds and animal bioacoustics. He leads the Signal Processing Group (SPG), which is comprised of both faculty and graduate students. The SPG offers opportunities for students to work in the forefront of signal processing and acoustics while in the ECE graduate program.

Last fall, two of ECE's PhD candidates earned significant recognition from the Acoustical Society of America for their research, attaining first and second place Best Student Paper Awards

Robert Randall received the Engineering Acoustics first prize for his presentation, "Motional current velocity control of piezoelectric loads." He studies at the Advanced Technolgy & Manufacturing Center with Prof. David Brown and is on a scholarship from Raytheon.

Many of my new research ideas come from the talks I attend, and the conversations I have at these conferences . . . It has been an invaluable experience as a graduate student.
- David Hague

David Hague took second place for his paper, "A generalized sinusoidal frequency modulated waveform for active sonar." He is a member of the SPG and attends UMass Dartmouth on a Department of Defense SMART fellowship. more

More information

Prof. John R. Buck, Ph.D.

Signal Processing Group

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Advanced Technolgy & Manufacturing Center

News: National attention for acoustics at UMass Dartmouth

News: Prof. Buck awarded ONR research grant