ASA, 5th Joint Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America and Acoustical Society of Japan

The second post on my Hawaii trip (Please see the first one here)

This conference is great!

I went to mainly the music and speech talks and poster sessions. Also looking forward to the data science talks on Friday. Some hot topics so far include: end-to-end ML, western and eastern music instruments, speech communication, etc.

There were a range different backgrounds of speakers: performers, teachers, people who works in industry, people from universities, etc., which creates a good diverse atmosphere.

And I’ve always been interested in the production and perception of music and speech. The speech communication sessions this time provided a good amount of information in this field of research. It was just exciting to see how many people is working on topics such as sound production in bilingualism, nuances in minority languages (Javanese, Hawaiian, etc) and popular languages (French, Spanish, Japanese, English, etc.).

The talks were very specialised though. Lots of terms I had to google. There were also patterns in conducting hearing experiments, using ultrasound for tongue movements, eye tracking, lips tracking, etc. This is probably also why there wasn’t anything with music and speech together: as the research question goes deeper and deeper, it’s harder and harder for the interaction between the two fields. But I believe there can be more progress and improvements for both fields if we look at them together. Someone just needs to be the fool.

Another fabulous thing  of this conference is the socials. One free Hawaiian show, two free dinners and a jam sessions. Spot on!

Accidentally, I had very pleasant conversation with Tony F. W. Embleton. We started with the wine holder he had, went to what we’re working on, and living in Canada and England, and history of this conference, and more great experiences.

Also, thanks to my Rochester friend who introduced me to her friend, and further this friend introduced me to her group of friends who’s attending this conference, I met lots of new people. And it’s always open my eyes to see what people are doing in their life and in research.

Another bonus of the conference: lots of languages listening practice. It just feels good to be able to understand fairly well when people talking in English and Japanese (and Chinese of course) and understand somewhat when people are talking in French and Korean.

(off-topic warning for the following content :P)

It also poses a problem though. Without consideration on my speaking skill level in these languages, it’s just hard to speak anything than English in conferences. People are looking for the most efficient way of communication. So when people are good at English, people speak in English naturally. Even when people are not that fluent in English, since they make efforts in speaking in English, some might be offended if we don’t speak back in English.

I heard some music theory conferences still have sessions in different languages. Really looking forward to attend one like that!

I don’t like making comparison when I’m not sure, but I’m definitely sure about this one: I enjoyed this conference much more than the AES I went a few months ago (see the post about it here). It doesn’t imply anything on the quality of the conferences, just a feeling, maybe influenced by the location, the focus, etc. The funny thing is that, both times, when I’m getting off the plane, there was a PhD offer for me. Completely irrelevant to the conference, but probably gonna make me love traveling even more.




NSF I-Corps, bussiness and industry

I applied to the NSF I-Corps programme in Spring 2016, and now thanks to the 3k funding from the programme, I’m writing this post in Hawaii!


The I-Corps programme includes a series of meetings and lectures. Each team was also assigned a mentor (Thank you for your time, Ben Gibson) to consult on different issues. We had three skype sessions, one more to go for the finally presentation next week.

Speaking of the final presentation, here’s the requirement:


As we can see, lots of comparison between what we started with and what we’re ending on. And basically, finishing the requirements is not hard at all.

Two keywords on what was taught: Business model canvas + customer interview

My business model canvas is probably too unprofessional to put up on the great internet. But I did enjoy making them.

And I realised I did like the polishing of the slides over 3 months, taking in what we have talked/interviewed with “potential customers”. It was intimidating to talk with people at first, especially when I didn’t even have a demo. But it got together as I was able to better articulate the concept of the “product”.

Now I have a very drafty demo (see here), but still far from a complete “product”. I’d be interested in any collaboration. Just shoot me an email 🙂

This whole process also made me realised how disconnected the research world is with actual real life applications, even in engineering. When I was studying in math and physics, it seemed natural to me that research should have nothing  (or nothing much directly) to do with daily life. But since I got into the music modelling research, the potential applications become more and more obvious. I guess the hurdle is how to put the cool ideas to useful applications that actually help someone.

I wish I can do research in the future that’s both cool conceptually and enjoyable by some others (the catch here is that the two doesn’t imply each other! Subjective and objective differences are there!).

Another minor good thing the programme brought to me is about language learning (drafting a language learning post, hopefully coming out soon). My first good and impressive encounter with a business man was in Montreal this summer, at the north america ployglot symposium. He is a ployglot of 16+ languages. And from his story, it seemed being a business man was contributing to his language abilities. I wish I can have that some day!