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Computational Methods for Research in Speech and Hearing Science

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This course aims to provide practical experience with a range of computing techniques useful for students wanting to pursue research in Speech and Hearing Science. It is open to all graduate students within the Division of Psychology and Language Sciences. The course module code is PLING209, and it is a 15-credit module.

The course starts Thursday 3rd October 2013 at 1.30pm in Room B07, Chandler House, 2 Wakefield Street. The course runs for 15 weeks through term 1 and term 2, at 2 hours/week. Assessment is by a project report of 3000 words, due end of term 2.

"Of all my MSc modules, I found the experience gained in the computational methods course the most useful in getting interviews for research assistant positions" - MSc Speech and Hearing Sciences student, 2010


Currently the course aims to cover:

  1. Introduction to Computing (1 week)
  2. Web Programming (2 weeks)
    • Editing pages in HTML
    • Further HTML: images, sounds and stylesheets
  3. Visual Basic Programming (5 weeks)
    • Using Visual Basic Express edition
    • Controls, methods, properties & variables
    • Functions and Control statements
    • Building GUI applications
    • Building command-line applications
  4. Shell Programming (2 weeks)
    • Shell commands & scripts
    • Text search and manipulation
  5. Speech Signal Processing (3 weeks)
    • Linear systems and convolution
    • Fourier analysis
    • Speech signal analysis
  6. Data analysis with 'R' (2 weeks)
    • Data input & graphs
    • Simple statistics

In term 1, the course will run on Thursdays 1.30pm-3.30pm in the Speech Sciences Lab in Chandler House. In term 2, it will (probably) run on a Friday 1pm-3pm.


Where some of the software we will use comes from:

  1. RJ TextEd (http://www.rj-texted.se/)
  2. Cygwin (www.cygwin.com)
  3. TextPad (www.textpad.com)
  4. R (www.r-project.org)
  5. Visual Studio Express Edition (www.visualstudio.com/en-US/products/visual-studio-express-vs)
  6. ZedGraph for .NET (zedgraph.org)
  7. BasicDSP for .NET (BasicDSP)

Note that we will only be using software that is freely available.


Assessment will be by a mini-project to be handed in at the end of the spring term. The project should involve: writing a program to collect data, analyzing the data collected, performing some statistics, reporting results in the form of a web page. See coursework handout for details.

Download a ZIP archive of 36 VCV recordings in WAV audio files.