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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/R01891X/1
Title: Integrating sound and context recognition for acoustic scene analysis
Principal Investigator: Benetos, Dr E
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Audio Analytic Ltd (UK)
Department: Sch of Electronic Eng & Computer Science
Organisation: Queen Mary University of London
Scheme: First Grant - Revised 2009
Starts: 03 April 2018 Ends: 02 June 2019 Value (£): 97,839
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Music & Acoustic Technology
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Creative Industries
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
27 Nov 2017 EPSRC ICT Prioritisation Panel Nov 2017 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The amount of audio data being generated has dramatically increased over the past decade, spanning from user-generated content, recordings in audiovisual archives, to sensor data captured in urban, nature or domestic environments. The need to detect and identify sound events in environmental recordings (e.g. door knock, glass break) as well as to recognise the context of an audio recording (e.g. train station, meeting) has led to the emergence of a new field of research: acoustic scene analysis. Emerging applications of acoustic scene analysis include the development of sound recognition technologies for smart homes and smart cities, security/surveillance, audio retrieval and archiving, ambient assisted living, and automatic biodiversity assessment.

However, current sound recognition technologies cannot adapt to different environments or situations (e.g. sound identification in an office environment, assuming specific room properties, working hours, outdoor noise and weather conditions). If information about context is available, it is typically characterised by a single label for an entire audio stream, not taking into account complex and ever-changing environments, for example when recording using hand-held devices, where context can consist of multiple time-varying factors and can be characterised by more than a single label.

This project will address the aforementioned shortcomings by investigating and developing technologies for context-aware sound recognition. We assume that the context of an audio stream consists of several time-varying factors that can be viewed as a combination of different environments and situations; the ever-changing context in turn informs the types and properties of sounds to be recognised by the system. Methods for context and sound recognition will be investigated and developed, based on signal processing and machine learning theory. The main contribution of the project will be an algorithmic framework that jointly recognises audio-based context and sound events, applied to complex audio streams with several sound sources and time-varying environments.

The proposed software framework will be evaluated using complex audio streams recorded in urban and domestic environments, as well as using simulated audio data in order to carefully control contextual and sound properties and have the benefit of accurate annotations. In order to further promote the study of context-aware sound recognition systems, a public evaluation task will be organised in conjunction with the public challenge on Detection and Classification of Acoustic Scenes and Events (DCASE).

Research carried out in this project targets a wide range of potential beneficiaries in the commercial and public sector for sound and audio-based context recognition technologies, as well as users and practitioners of such technologies. Beyond acoustic scene analysis, we believe this new approach will advance the broader fields of audio and acoustics, leading to the creation of context-aware systems for related fields, including music and speech technology and hearing aids.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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