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IEEE Signal Processing Society Blog

The SPS blog aims to raise awareness about signal processing and Society-related topics to a general interest audience in an engaging, informal, and non-technical way. If you're interested in contributing to the SPS blog, please contact the SPS Blog Team at for more information.

Audio and Acoustic Signal Processing’s Major Impact on Smartphones

Heinz Teutsch

When you first hear about Audio and Acoustic Signal Processing (AASP) it’s likely you don’t think of the movies, music and modern smartphones that it gives life to. As a sub-category of signal processing, AASP specifically deals with the analysis, processing and synthesis of sound that has been either recorded by one or more microphones or artificially generated by, for example, a computer program or synthesizer. 

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The Challenges of Smart Signal Processing

Antonio Gomez

R&D Electrical Engineer with System Test Equipment Engineering Group at Sandia National Laboratories
It’s not uncommon to find that engineers and scientists are reluctant to change. Unlike new features on your smart phone, new ideas in engineering and science can be received with a cold shoulder and large doses of skepticism. For anyone in the field, the statement “this is the way we have always been doing it” is heard numerous times during engineering design sessions. Most engineering teams would rather spend their time designing an automatic screwdriver than designing a new screw.

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Why This Signal Processing Pioneer Takes the Road Less Traveled

For many of us, it’s difficult to recall a time when our mobile phones were too big for our pockets, or our laptops weren’t paper-thin. But it wasn’t long ago that disk drives – the technology that stores data on digital devices – were the size of a room. Today, while they’re more like the size of a credit card and still shrinking, the sheer amount of data we’re saving to them continues to explode.

It’s a data storage problem José Moura predicted – and solved – 20 years ago.

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Signal Processing: How This Science Puts Our Lives in Motion

Declan O’Neill

Declan O’Neill, Telecommunications Engineering undergraduate at the Dublin Institute of Technology

If you were asked the meaning of the term “signal processing,” how would you respond? I'm sure you could easily explain what processing means, but what's a signal? A signal is anything we can sense, be it a sight, a sound, the heat felt from a warm object or a draft felt rolling through a room. It could even be the shudder felt through the floor when a truck drives down your street. But when we talk about signal processing, what do we mean and where can we see it? Could we reasonably call it “the science behind our digital life?” The short answer is yes, but why?

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Signal Processing in a Multimedia World: How the Science Behind our Digital Life Powers our Apps and Gadgets

Maximo Cobos

Maximo Cobos, professor, University of Valencia

Our modern life takes place in a world that is full of sounds, images and videos. You probably wake up by listening to some relaxing tone on your phone, listen to some music while you go running, and send a voice message to say happy birthday to a close relative. Then, you probably receive a notification to check the cool photos your friend has just sent you from yesterday's party and, while you’re checking the news, a trailer from a wonderful movie appears on your screen. It’s still early in the morning and you’ve already experienced the ubiquity of our multimedia world.

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E.T. Still Can’t Phone Home, But Signal Processing Solves Many Technology Challenges

Pete Wyckoff

Pete Wyckoff, Signal Processing Consultant & IEEE Member

In 1982, E.T. was stranded on Earth and his fate depended upon phoning home using a Texas Instruments Speak & Spell – a child’s toy – precariously wired to a Columbian coffee can and a dingy turntable record player, which appeared to be playing a circular saw rather than an actual record. The Speak & Spell was a contemporary marvel built upon years of engineering research into speech synthesis. Computers could talk to us in 1982; nonetheless phoning a distant galaxy with such a makeshift contraption presented a few obstacles. Although challenges prevail – for good reasons – signal processing and systems engineering help to overcome many of the barriers.

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Modern Communications: Signal Processing’s Vital Role in Connecting Communities

Waheed U. Bajwa and Hamid Krim

Waheed U. Bajwa, Dept. of ECE, Rutgers University-New Brunswick, NJ
Hamid Krim, Dept. of ECE, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC

Whether they know it or not, almost everyone in both the developed and developing worlds benefits from daily advances in signal processing. Our information age centers our activities around two key themes: ubiquitous connectivity and online social networking. And these themes are, in turn and not surprisingly, front and center themes in signal processing.

Signal Processing and Communications

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Data Treasure Hunters: Science Expanding to New Frontiers

Wade Trappe

This change is already happening, and it will be dramatic and exciting! It will completely change how most of us think about data, and how we tackle science and engineering problems. With it will come a flood of new discoveries—advances in the sciences and in new technologies—that were never before possible. What is this revolution? How did we get here? Where is it going, and how is signal processing involved?

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