Welcome to the companion website for the NESS project (standing for Next Generation Sound Synthesis), funded through a Starting Grant from the European Research Council for five years beginning on January 1, 2012. This is an exploratory project, concerned entirely with synthetic sound—and in particular, numerical simulation techniques for physical modelling sound synthesis.

Who we are: We are a group of eight engineers and numerical methods specialists—based at the Acoustics and Audio Group and the Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre at the University of Edinburgh—with a keen interest in musical acoustics, digital audio synthesis and parallel computing.

What we do: The goals of this project are wide ranging: to explore numerical techniques, and especially finite difference time domain methods, for the simulation of a variety of instrument families, in order to generate synthetic sound. As such methods can be numerically quite intensive, part of the project is devoted to looking at implementations in parallel architectures (multicore processors and general purpose graphics processing units). Finally, we’ll be inviting various technically-minded composers over to Edinburgh to use these tools… and, we hope, to show us how to get the most out of them, musically.

The following pages in this Overview section are devoted to describing, in brief, the motivations for what we’ll be doing, the techniques we’ll make use of, as well as some of the general technical challenges. If you’re impatient or just don’t like clicking, a short set of .pdf slides describing the aims of the project is available here.

Next: Digital Sound Synthesis: A Little Background