Prof. Stefan Bilbao

Main Research Areas:  Audio Signal Processing, Physical Modelling Sound Synthesis, Virtual Analog Modeling, High Performance Computing and Audio, Spatial Audio

Contact Details

Prof. Stefan Bilbao, Room 2.10 Alison House, 12 Nicolson Square, Edinburgh EH8 9DF, United Kingdom
t: +44 (0)131 651 7043

Short CV and Full CV


I 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. I 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). I 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.

I currently work on computational acoustics, for applications in sound synthesis and virtual acoustics. Special topics of interest include: Finite difference time domain methods, distributed nonlinear systems such as strings and plates, architectural acoustics, spatial audio in simulation, 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 formed 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 Supervision

13 PhD students, 13 postdoctoral research associates/technical staff, 39 MSc dissertation supervisions, 16 visiting research students, 13 PhD/Habilitation external examination committees.

Major Grants

2016-2018             PI, European Research Council Proof of Concept Grant: Wave-based Room Acoustics Modeling, £107 000.

2012-2016             PI, European Research Council Starting Grant: Next Generation Sound Synthesis, £1 175 000.

2006-2008             PI, Leverhulme Trust Project Grant, £27 000.

2006-2009             PI, EPSRC First Grant, 2006-2009, £84 000.

2005-2008             Co-I, Agence Nationale de la Recherche  grant (France): Consonne, 430 000 Euro.

2004-2006             Co-I, Invest Northern Ireland/Digital Theatre Systems project grant, £ 1 100 000.


For a full list of publications, see here

Major outputs include:

Some recent work:

  • S. Bilbao, J. Ahrens and B. Hamilton, “Incorporating Source Directivity in Wave-based Virtual Acoustics: Time-domain Models and Fitting to Measured Data,” Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 46(4):2692–2703, 2019. 12 pp. .pdf
  • S. Bilbao, A. Politis and B. Hamilton, “Local Time-domain Spherical Harmonic Spatial Encoding for Wave-based Acoustic Simulation,” IEEE Signal Processing Letters, 26(4):617–821, 2019. 5 pp. .pdf
  • S. Bilbao and B. Hamilton, “Directional Sources in Wave-based Acoustic Simulation,” IEEE/ACM Transactions on Audio Speech and Language Processing, 27(2):415–428, 2019. 14 pp. .pdf

Invited Presentations and Workshops

I’ve given about 70 invited lectures at conferences, symposia, university research laboratories, and for industry. Some highlights include:

  • 2008, Nov. Invited tutorial session, SC08: International Conference for High-performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis, Austin, Texas, USA.
  • 2009, Aug. Invited tutorial session, IEEE Consumer Electronics Society’s Games Innovation Conference, London, UK.
  • 2012, Jun. Invited tutorial, HPC Workshop, City University of New York, New York, USA.
  • 2012, Sept. Invited workshop, 15th International Digital Audio Effects Conference, York, UK.
  • 2014, Jul. Keynote lecture, International Symposium on Musical Acoustics, Le Mans, France.
  • 2015, Jul. Keynote lecture, Sound and Music Computing Conference, Maynooth, Ireland.
  • 2020, Sept. Keynote lecture, Timbre2020, Thessaloniki, Greece.

Other Activities

Member: Audio Engineering Society, Acoustical Society of America, IEEE (Senior Member).

Associate Editor: IEEE Transactions on Audio Speech and Language Processing (2019-2022).

Co-founder: Physical Audio Ltd. (with Craig Webb and Michele Ducceschi).

Peer reviewing: 54 international journals, international conferences, academic publishers and funding bodies.

Conference Program/Scientific Committee: International Conference on Digital Audio Effects: 2008-09, 2012-14, 2016, 2018, general chair 2017; Sound and Music Computing Conference, (2011, 2015, 2017, 2019-20); International Symposium on Musical Acoustics, (2017); ViennaTalk (2015, 2020); International Computer Music Conference (2006-07, 2014-2015); Computer Music Multidisciplinary Research (2013, 2015).

Awards: Best paper awards at the International Conference on Digital Audio Effects (2008, 2012, 2014, 2015) and the Sound and Music Computing Conference (2017).

Chairing/Special Session Organisation: Chairing at international conferences on 16 occasions. Special session organisation at the International Congress on Acoustics (2019), European Nonlinear Dynamics Conference (2020), Forum Acusticum (2020).