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Professor Paul White BSc(Hons), PhD

Professor of Statistical Signal Processing

Professor Paul White's photo

Professor Paul White is Professor of Statistical Signal Processing within Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Southampton.

Sound plays a vital role in the lives of marine mammals; understanding how they use acoustics provides inspiration for man-made systems, whilst monitoring the impact of man-made noise is important for their conservation.

Paul is Professor of Statistical Signal Processing in the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research (ISVR). 

Having obtained a BSc in Mathematics in 1985, Paul moved along the south coast to Southampton to undertake his PhD at the University of Southampton, becoming a lecturer in ISVR in 1988 and was awarded his Chair in 2004.

Research interests

Paul has research interests which include signal processing, underwater acoustics and bioacoustics (the way animals, especially marine mammals, use sound). He is primarily concerned with developing tools to assist in the computer-aided analysis of underwater sounds and understanding the role of those sounds in the marine environment.

Acoustics, in the form of sonar, is an important tool for the exploration of the marine environment. It is used by the seismic industry to locate oil and gas reserves, by the military to detect objects, by oceanographers to make measurements and by marine mammals to survive.

Man-made underwater acoustic systems rely upon computers to process the data coming from sensors to interpret the environment. The processing methods within the computer systems are a critical component often defining the overall success of the instrument.

Examples of current research
  • The processing of calls of marine mammals
  • Underwater noise
  • Fish acoustics
  • Acoustics of birds 

Research group

Signal Processing, Audio and Hearing Group

Research project(s)

Are some people suffering as a result of increasing mass exposure of the public to ultrasound in air?

A study of clicking sounds in the coastal waters

Combining Steady state and Transient Methods for Acoustic Leak Detection

Detecting leaks from undersea gas pipelines, seabed methane reserves, and carbon capture and storage facilities

Do dolphins think nonlinearly?

Dolphin-inspired radar for finding bombs, bugs and catastrophe victims

Humpback whale song analysis

Interdependencies between biological communities, their activities and the sediment environment in determining the acoustic properties of the shelf seafloor

Is there a causal relationship between the use of mid-frequency naval sonar and the mass-stranding of beaked whale species displaying injuries similar to those observed in human cases of decompression sickness.

Man-made underwater sound may have wider ecosystem effects than previously thought

Methods for automatically classifying humpback whale calls

RAINDROP: tRansforming Acoustic SensINg for leak detection in trunk mains and water DistRibutiOn Pipelines

Signal processing for underwater acoustics

Signal Processing for Whale and Dolphin Vocalisations

This page describes the research project on signal processing for whale and dolphin vocalisations.

The effects of sound on fish

A number of studies have determined how fish respond to various sounds, to provide the basic knowledge needed to protect fish, and design ‘acoustic scarecrows’. This work is led by the International Centre for Ecohydraulics Research (ICER) (Prof Kemp), with Prof White and Prof Leighton from ISVR providing the acoustics input.

The sounds of voices and waterfalls on other planets

The sources of underwater click sounds of biological origin in UK shallow waters

Tracking sperm whales with particle filters

Whales hunt with wall of sound

World's first experiment tests for leaks from carbon capture and storage seabed facilities

Zero Leakage 2050

UK Water Industry Research (UKWIR), working in partnership with others, has taken a lead in the development of the water research agenda in the UK and Ireland by defining a strategic research programme to address the key challenges facing the industry, now and in the future. In the ISVR at Southampton University, we are working on one of the 12 Big Research Questions, ‘How will we achieve zero leakage in a sustainable way by 2050?’. In particular, in ISVR, we are looking at the fundamental research required to take Acoustic Leak Detection to a whole new level.

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Book Chapters




Working Paper

Module titleModule codeRole
Signal Processing ISVR6130 Module co-ordinator
Ocean Acoustics & Biomedical Ultrasound ISVR3070 Teaching
Professor Paul White
Engineering, University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton. SO17 1BJ United Kingdom

Room Number : 13/3071

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