Project MERLIN – Modern methods for the restoration of lost information in digital signals


The Acoustics Research Institute of the Austrian Academy of Sciences is looking for candidates for a PhD research position (30h, i.e. 75%) for the bilateral FWF-GAČR Joint Project Modern methods for the restoration of lost information in digital signals (MERLIN) starting in June 2017 with the chance to pursue a PhD degree in a related scientific discipline.

The Acoustics Research Institute (ARI) is an interdisciplinary research institution of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. A multidisciplinary approach is necessary for frontier research in acoustics. The Acoustics Research Institute undertakes top-level research in psychoacoustics  and experimental audiology; acoustics phonetics; physical and computational acoustics; and mathematics and signal processing. The close interaction between the working groups at the institute allow innovative research approaches based on the synergy effects of multidisciplinary research as well as concepts that stimulate the individual research fields. ARI employs approximately 40 academic, technical and administrative staff.

MERLIN is concerned with the development of new, innovative methods for the automatic recovery of lost signal segments and concealment of damaged signal content. To this end, MERLIN will combine know-how from the areas of applied mathematics, optimization, signal modeling, signal and image processing and human auditory perception. In particular, MERLIN will devise methods specifically focused on audio restoration. In contrast to previous work in this field, the schemes designed in MERLIN will harness existing signal-dependent information to assist the restoration process. This prior information can range from clues obtained directly from the signal, to meta-data on the signal source. Audio restoration is a challenging and unique sub-field of signal restoration not only for the tremendous variety of audio signals and their everyday relevance, but also for the relevance of the inner workings of the human auditory system for their perception. Therefore, MERLIN will take into account state-of-the-art knowledge on the perception of sound. Reproducible research is a core principle of MERLIN and the methods devised in the project will be supplied to the scientific community in a software toolbox, freely available for research purposes. The project is scheduled to start on 01. June 2017 with a duration of 3 years. This is a cooperative project with other working groups at ARI, our project partner the Nonorthogonal Signal Representation group, Signal Processing Laboratory, Technical University of Brno, as well as national and international partners. 

We are now looking for a PhD candidate, who will be incorporated in the 'Mathematics and Signal Processing in Acoustics'-group and will work closely together with the other members under the guidance of Dr. Nicki Holighaus and Doz. Dr. Peter Balazs. They will also work closely together with the other working groups of the institute in a multi-disciplinary research context. This is a research position, no teaching duties are involved.


Applicants are required to be able to show:

  • experience in a least one of the topics and openness to the others 

1. Fourier and/or time-frequency analysis

2. Digital signal processing, in particular audio signal processing

3. Theoretical and/or computational (non-)convex optimization 

4. Music information retrieval 

5. Machine learning

  • the desire to travel and work in an international cooperative project


Applicants should have:

  • a master's degree or an equivalent education in a relevant scientific discipline.

  • willingness to pursue a PhD degree in a project-related scientific field

  • experience with the numerical  implementation of mathematical methods and/or signal processing algorithms in MATLAB/octave or any wide-spread programming language

  • the desire to do interdisciplinary research, touching not only the above-mentioned fields, but also other disciplines such as: psychoacoustics, musicology, physical modeling, graph signal processing etc.

  • the ability to carry out research work independently as well as cooperatively 


This PhD post is available from 1 June 2017 and will be offered until 31 November 2017. Given a successful cooperation with the group and the project, the contract will be prolonged for another 30 months (until 31 May 2020). The salary will be EUR 37.010,– per year according the personal cost rates of the FWF for doctoral candidates. Applications will be screened from 1 May 2017 until the position is filled.


Applicants should submit a letter of application (expressing their particular fitting to this position. and interest in the project), their curriculum vitae, one letter of reference and, if applicable, a list of publications:

Institut für Schallforschung

Wohllebengasse 12-14, 1st Floor

A-1040 Wien, Austria

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The Austrian Academy of Sciences is an equal-opportunity employer, women and minorities are encouraged to apply.