Plenary Talks - Dr. Karlheinz Brandenburg

Audio and Acoustics Signal Processing: the Quest for High Fidelity continues

Dr. Karlheinz Brandenburg

Professor, Technische Universitat Ilmenau, Germany


The dream of high fidelity continues since more than 100 years. In the last decades, signal processing has contributed many new solutions and a vast amount of additional knowledge to this field. These include:

So are there any problems left to be solved? Among others, I see two main research areas:

For such systems we use our knowledge about hearing, especially how ear and brain work together to form the sensation of sound. However, our knowledge about hearing, about psychoacoustics is still far from complete. In fact, just in the last few years we have learned a lot about what we don't know. The talk will touch on a number of the subjects above, explain some current work and its applications and finally talk about open research questions regarding psychoacoustics and the evaluation of audio quality.

Speaker Biography

Dr. Karlheinz Brandenburg has been a driving force behind some of today's most profoundly innovative digital audio technology, notably the MP3 and MPEG audio standards. He is acclaimed for seminal work on digital audio coding and perceptual measurement techniques, Wave Field Synthesis (WFS) and psycho-acoustics. The MP3 has fundamentally changed the way we enjoy and manage music, leading to consumer electronic devices ranging from digital radio receivers to solid state players to MP3-enabled cell phones and beyond.

It was Dr. Brandenburg's doctoral thesis on digital audio coding and perceptual measurement techniques that formed the basis of the MPEG-1 Layer 3 codec (the MP3) and most other modern audio compression schemes. As head of the audio/multimedia department at the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS in Erlangen, Germany, from 1993 to 2000, Dr. Brandenburg also guided the development of MPEG-2 Advanced Audio Coding (AAC), the codec of choice for modern devices including iPod, iPhone and audio streaming services.

Dr. Brandenburg is currently serving as professor at the Institute for Media Technology at Ilmenau University of Technology, Germany, and director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology IDMT, also in Ilmenau.

Born on 20 June 1954 in Erlangen, Germany, Karlheinz Brandenburg attended Germany's University of Erlangen, earning degrees in electrical engineering and mathematics, and completing a doctorate in electrical engineering in 1989. He subsequently held research positions at AT&T Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, New Jersey, and the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg.

An IEEE Fellow, Dr. Brandenburg has long been active in the IEEE Signal Processing Society's technical committee on Audio and Electroacoustics and served as general chair of the 2002 IEEE International Symposium on Consumer Electronics (ISCE'02) in Ilmenau. In 2004 he was honored with the "IEEE Masaru Ibuka Consumer Electronic Award" for major contributions to digital audio source coding. A Fellow of the Audio Engineering Society (AES), his awards include the IEEE Region 10 Engineering Excellence Award, the AES Silver Medal and Fellowship Award, the German Internet Special Award NEO and the German Future Award, which he shared with colleagues. Furthermore Brandenburg is member in the "Hall of Fame" of the Consumer Electronics Association and of the International Electrotechnical Commission. In 2009 he was appointed as Ambassador of the European Year of Creativity and Innovation. Brandenburg holds a doctorate in electrical engineering from Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg and received honorary doctorate degrees from the universities of Koblenz-Landau and L√ľneburg for his outstanding research work in the field of audio coding. The author of numerous articles and co-editor of "Applications of Digital Signal Processing to Audio and Acoustics" holds about 100 patents.