PHYS 536:

Introduction to Acoustics and Digital Signal Processing

  • The textbook is updated up to p. 132.
  • The HW1 solutions are available.
  • The HW2 solutions are available.
  • The first and the second parts of Quantum Computing is available.
  • The 2007 flyer contains an update of some of the information below.

  • This is a new 4-credit course, first taught as a test under the generic heading "Application of Physics" (as PHYS427 in Summer 1999, 2000 and 2001, and as PHYS575 in Autumn 2000 and Winter 2003). The test was a success - the enrollment represented an interesting mix of the regular day students, and evening students (working at Boeing, NAVY, Microsoft etc.). About half of the students were from Physics, the rest came from many diverse Departments (EE, Comp. Sci., Math, ...). Most were graduate but some advanced and motivated undergraduate students also participated successfully. Some of the term papers were outstanding, and several students continued their projects in Independent Study research courses in subsequent Quarters. Now the course has been approved under its own dedicated course number, and will be offered in Winter 2005.
  •  General Course Philosophy

    This is a course on Acoustics, as far as it is connected to DSP and/or Music, and on the Digital Signal Processing, as far as it is connected to Acoustics and/or Music. It is of course impossible to cover Acoustics,or Digital Signal Processing (not to mention both) in just one Quarter. But it is possible to treat the foundations of these fields in a way which should enable the students to proceed on their own exploring the details and additional applications.  Besides, it is fun to illustrate advanced concepts in Complex Analysis and in Digital Signal Processing by examples from Physics of Music and Musical Acoustics.

    Detailed Syllabus of the course, as taught last year, is available.


    Vladi Chaloupka
    Professor of Physics
    Adjunct Professor, School of Music
    Affiliate, Virginia Merrill Bloedel Hearing Research Center
    (all three affiliations will be obvious in every lecture ...)



    Due to the highly interdisciplinary nature of this course, there is no single book (not even two or three books) which could serve as a Text. Detailed, self-contained, LATEX-typeset handouts will be used instead. As an optional reference, "Complex Variables" by Murray R. Spiegel, in the Schaum's Outline series, is highly recommended. For the Maximum Length Sequence ("Spread-Spectrum"), Time-Delay Spectrometry, and other advanced topics, references to original papers will be given.


    PHYS123 or equivalent, and MATH136 or equivalent (the 'official' description erroneously lists MATH 120. MATH 136 is equivalent to "two yeaqrs of calculus"). These are "minimal pre-requisites" - many people with not more than this minimal background did well, when they had the "right attitude" towards learning new things. If you are in doubt about the level of this course and your preparation, please arrange with the Instructor to inspect the Lecture Notes from last year before registering.