Digital Audio Synthesis and Control using GPUs

A three-year funded studentship in UWE Bristol's Computer Science Research Centre.

  • Starting on Monday 1 October 2018.
  • The deadline for applications is midnight on 6th June 2018.


Physical modelling is a sophisticated synthesis technique, often used in the design of Digital Musical Instruments (DMIs). Often these systems are highly parameterizable and characterised by an extremely heavy computational load, which makes them amiable to implementation and optimisation on modern GPUs. However, the low-level programming models of GPUs, such as OpenCL and more recently Vulkan, which are based on C, are often not a suitable starting place for musicians and even experienced DSP programmers, who are more likely to program in domain specific visual or functional languages such as MaxMSP or Faust, particular exemplars of these domains.

The goal of this project is to look at combining and developing domain specific languages, with focus on audio and control processing, that target massively parallel systems. The post is based within the computer science department’s research centre with a particular focus towards physical computing.

To address these issues, a UWE Bristol-funded full studentship is offered at UWE Bristol which investigates the application of functional languages to aid the development of programming models for digital synthesis and control on many core computers, eg GPUS. The student will work with desktop and mobile computers and programming languages such as Haskell, C++, and OpenCL.

The student will work as part of a team, together with the supervisors and an existing team of researches, including PhD students, within UWE Bristol's Computer Science Research Centre.

Specific eligibility criteria for applicants

Applicants from outside the EU may apply for this studentship but will need to pay the difference between the ‘Home/EU’ and the ‘Overseas’ tuition fees. Currently this is £7,641 (full time) for the 2017/18 academic year, however, tuition fees for 18/19 have not yet been agreed. As part of the application y,ou will be required to confirm that you have applied for, or, secured this additional funding.

This is a three-year full-time commitment. The project is ideal for a self-motivated and enthusiastic student with a good honours degree (2:1 or equivalent) in computer science or other relevant field, and evidence of further study at Masters level or equivalent in a relevant field. Ideally, you will have a strong interest in programming languages, in particular functional programming, and digital sound environments.

The position is available to start on Monday 1 October 2018.

Funding details

The studentship is available from Monday 1 October 2018 for a period of three years, subject to satisfactory progress and includes a tax exempt stipend at the standard EPSRC rate, which is currently £14,553 per annum. In addition, full-time tuition fees will be covered for up to three years (Home/EU rates only).

How to apply

Download and complete the Graduate School studentship application form and send it directly to the UWE Bristol Graduate School. Please ensure you include the title of the research project you propose to undertake, and detail why you are interested in undertaking this PhD project and what relevant knowledge, experience and qualifications you would bring to the research. Please see the Graduate School studentship application guidance notes for further information about how to complete the application form.

Please also complete the Equal Opportunities monitoring form and complete the first section of the Graduate School application reference sheet before sending to your nominated referees.

Please email Dr Benedict Gaster at for an informal discussion about the studentship.

The deadline for applications is midnight on Wednesday 6th June 2018. Any applications received after this date will not be considered.

Further information

If you have not heard from us by Monday 11 June 2018, we thank you for your application, but on this occasion you have not been successful.

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