Placeholder image

Job title:

Personal Chair of Acoustics and Audio Signal Processing, Music


REF Co-ordinator UoA 33 (Music, Drama, Dance, Performing Arts, Film and Screen Studies)


Room 2.10, Alison House


Stefan Bilbao studied Physics at Harvard University (BA, '92), then spent two years at the Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique Musicale (IRCAM) under a fellowship awarded by Harvard and the Ecole Normale Superieure. He then completed the MSc and PhD degrees in Electrical Engineering at Stanford University ('96 and '01, respectively), while working at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA). He was subsequently a postdoctoral researcher at the Stanford Space Telecommunications and Radioscience Laboratory, and a Lecturer at the Sonic Arts Research Centre at the Queen's University Belfast.

He currently works on sound synthesis based on physical models of musical instruments, with a particular focus on mainstream numerical simulation techniques, such as, e.g., finite difference methods. Special topics of interest include: Hamiltonian and symplectic methods, distributed nonlinear systems such as strings and plates, estimates of computational complexity, multichannel sound synthesis, and hardware and software realizations.

A sideline is joint work with composers of electroacoustic music. Other interests include virtual analog effect modelling and artificial reverberation design, modelling of electromechanical instruments, shock wave propagation in tubes, numerical absorbing boundaries in acoustics applications, and large-scale audio rendering using graphics processing units (GPUs) in conjunction with the Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre.

Many of the research directions described above now form part of an ERC-funded project, NESS, running jointly with the Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre over the period 2012-2017. See the project website for more information:


Research interests

  • Acoustics
  • Sound Synthesis
  • Audio Signal Processing
  • Room Acoustics
  • Numerical Methods


1st supervisor

Project title - Student - Status

  • NESS: Room Acoustics Modelling - Brian Hamilton - Current
  • NESS: Percussion - Alberto Torin - Current
  • NESS: Sound Synthesis on GPGPUs - Craig Webb - Graduated
  • NESS: Brass Synthesis - Reg Harrison - Current


Project title - Student - Status

  • NESS: Violin Modeling - Charlotte Desvages - Current


Research interests

  • Digital Signal Processing
  • Physical Modelling Sound Synthesis
  • Virtual Analog Modeling
  • High Performance Computing and Audio
  • Conservative Numerical Methods
  • Optimization
  • Room Acoustics Modeling

PhD Supervision Topics

  • Acoustics and audio
  • Computational
  • Instrument research
  • Technology

Related programmes