The 22nd IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing was held in Munich in 1997, for the first time in Germany. Staff members of the Institute for Human-Machine Communication took an active part in the conference committee: it was chaired by M. Lang, G. Ruske was in charge of publications, and H. Fastl took care of the registration procedure. More than 1000 authors presented their contributions to research in the fields of digital signal processing, speech, and acoustics; and some 1800 participants attended this top event. Summaries of the most relevant new ideas were presented by 8 leading experts from each technical committee on the last day of the conference. These summary sessions were highly appreciated by the ICASSP 97 attendees.
Other highlights included the combined opening and awards ceremony in the Gasteig concert hall, where the 1996 IEEE Signal Processing Society awards were presented. The Bavarian Government invited ICASSP attendees to a State Reception in the "Kaisersaal" of the Munich Residence, emphasizing the significance of the event. A Bavarian evening was arranged in one of the Munich brewery halls to make known typical entertainment and folklore to the international audience. Proceedings in print and on CD-ROM were produced to summarize the results. As the positive response from the participants showed, ICASSP 97 was a success; and it paved the way for other conference venues outside of the US, e.g. Istanbul, host of the ICASSP 2000.
Sponsored by the WE-Heraeus-Stiftung, Professor M. Lang chaired a seminar about Speech Regognition and Speech Understanding at the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft (DPG) in Bad Honnef. Professor G. Ruske and Professor H. Fastl were members of the organizing committee. 16 internationally renowned experts were invited to give lectures on the state of the art and current problems at issue in the field of speech processing. For instance, Professor G. Ruske contributed a lecture about "Robust Speech Recognition." Moreover, representatives of information technology companies gave an insight into industrial applications of speech technology and marketing aspects as well. It was generally agreed that the seminar gave all attendees the opportunity for fruitful discussions and mutual learning.
The European Noise Conference euro-noise 1998 was held for the first time in Germany, and co-chaired by Dr. Joachim Scheuren from Müller-BBM and Professor Hugo Fastl from the Institute for Human-Machine Communication. The conference had the motto "Designing for Silence", and internationally renowned experts discussed questions of prediction, measurement and evaluation of noise and vibration. In addition, an exhibition showed the latest developments in materials for noise abatement as well as new algorithms for assessing questions of noise problems. The results are compiled in the proceedings edited by H. Fastl and J. Scheuren [98fas7].
Within the framework of "Japan in Deutschland" Professor Sonoko Kuwano from the Laboratory of Environmental Psychology of Osaka University, Japan and Professor Hugo Fastl from the Institute for Human-Machine Communication organized a joint symposium of the Acoustical Society of Japan (ASJ) and the German Acoustical Society (DEGA). Experts from both countries discussed about questions of noise measurement and evaluation. The results are available in the volume Fortschritte der Akustik - DAGA 2000, published by DEGA, Oldenburg. In addition, a publication of these papers in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of Japan, English Version (JASJ(E)) is planned.
On the evening of 23 April 1999, some 90 invited guests attended the celebration to mark the occasion of the retirement of Professor Ernst Terhardt, Professor of Acoustical Communication and Musical Acoustics at the Technische Universität München.
Professor Terhardt earned his degree in Communications Engineering at the University of Stuttgart, where he also graduated. He was promoted to Professor at the Technische Universität München in 1970. His research experience is wide ranging: auditory roughness and pitch perception, auditory time and frequency resolution, musical consonance, the physics of string instruments, and signal theory were major topics of his research work. His concept of "virtual pitch," established in the early 1970ies to explain the pitch perception of complex tones, is certainly his most influential work. In 1998, Professor Terhardt published the essence of his scientific achievements in his substantial book "Akustische Kommunikation" [98ter1].
The music for the festive occasion was provided by Manfred Seewann, a former student and co-worker of Professor Terhardt, who is a professional musician. He played pieces of Chopin on the grand piano for the pleasure of all those present.
After the presentations, the evening was completed by a buffet supper, which gave all guests the opportunity to both utilize and talk about Acoustical Communication. The evening was an enourmous pleasure for all those present, and much appreciation goes to all who contributed to the organisation of the event. We all wish Professor Terhardt a very happy and positive retirement from University and - as a somewhat selfish wish - that he will continue his productivity.
Professor H. Fastl was one of three scientists from Germany who were granted the Research Award of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) in 1998. He also frequently reviews research projects for the DFG.
Johannes Müller and Holger Stahl received the Rohde & Schwarz -prize in 1998 for their outstanding doctoral dissertations [P-L4, P-L5]. Their work about a single-stage stochastic approach to natural speech understanding was awarded therewith. Meanwhile, H. Stahl holds a professorship at the Fachhochschule Rosenheim.
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© Lehrstuhl für Mensch-Maschine-Kommunikation, Feb. 2001