Marine Acoustics, Sonar Systems and Signal Processing Short Course

Marine Acoustics Short Course attendees.

Acoustic underwater sensing is highly interdisciplinary, requiring input from the fields of environmental and target acoustics, sonar system design, and signal processing. This course provides a fundamental understanding of these three disciplines as well as a comprehensive introduction to a broad array of more advanced basic and applied research topics.

The course will give scientists and engineers who want an introduction to, or a review of, topics in marine acoustics, sonar systems, and signal processing the necessary background for reviewing current technical literature or for taking more focused courses.

Course Dates

June 10 – 14, 2024

Course Location

University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH


Programming and Course Information
Anthony Lyons, Research Professor
Phone: (603) 862-0329

Sign up For course announcements

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Program Details

To accommodate the broad range of participants' interests and backgrounds, the course format consists of two days of basic introductory lectures focused on fundamentals and two days allowing for students to choose between two concurrent sessions on more specialized topics in acoustics, sonar and signal processing. The last day consists of tank demonstrations highlighting the week’s lecture material. Participants receive notes in electronic form for all sessions.

$2,175 per person

Course fee includes:

  • Daily lunch
  • Welcome reception and dinner
  • Farewell dinner
  • Course materials provided in electronic format

Not included - Participant's travel, accommodations and meals other than stated above.

GRADUATE STUDENTS: This year we are offering a discount of 50% off of the registration fee to five students. This offer is first-come, first-serve. To take advantage of this offer, please contact Tony Lyons at before registering.  You must be able to provide proof of your enrollment in a acredited graduate program.

Monday, June 10, 2024
0730 Registration
0800 Welcome and Overview
0810 Fundamentals of Acoustics - Derek Olson (NPS)
1130 Lunch
1300 Sonar Concepts Overview - Daniel Brown (PSU)
1630 End of lecture
1730 Welcome Dinner - The Victory Club
Tuesday, June 11, 2024
0800 Introduction to Propagation - Anthony Lyons (UNH)
0945 Overview of Scattering, Reverberation and Ambient Noise - Anthony Lyons (UNH)
1130 Lunch
1300 Introduction to the Representation and Processing of Signals in Space and Time - James Preisig (JPAnalytics LCC)
1445 Introduction to Detection, Classification, Localization and Tracking - Douglas Abraham (APL-UW)
1630 End of lecture
Wednesday, June 12, 2024
0800 Session A - Advanced Detections Concepts - Douglas Abraham (APL-UW)
  Session B - Marine Bioacoustics - Jennifer Miksis-Olds (UNH)
1130 Lunch
1300 Session A - Marine Acoustic Remote Sensing - Anthony Lyons (UNH)
  Session B - Imaging Sonar - Daniel Brown (PSU)
1630 End of lectures
Thursday, June 13, 2024
0800 Session A - Underwater Acoustic Communications - James Preisig (JPAnalytics LLC)
  Session B - Array Concepts  - Tom Montgomery (ARL-PSU)
1130 Lunch
1300 Session A - Acoustic Scattering - Derek Olson (UNH)
  Session B - Transduction Materials and Devices - Tom Montgomery (PSU)
1630 End of lectures
1730 Farewell dinner and certificate distribution - The Victory Club
Friday, June 14, 2024
0800 Demonstrations - Chad Smith (ARL-PSU)
1200 Lunch
1300 Chase Ocean Engineering Laboratory Tour
1430 End of Course

Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are based on a standard of 1 unit per 10 hours of classroom instruction. You will receive up to 36 hours for attending the entire course. Upon completion of this program, each participant will be awarded a certificate for the CEUs earned.

  • Fundamentals of Acoustics: A review of basic vibration theory, basic acoustic theory, and the physics of sound propagation, reflection, and absorption phenomena.
  • Sonar Concepts Overview: This section will provide a detailed overview of the active and passive sonar equations as well as a discussion of the individual components in these sonar equations in terms of the relevant physics and system parameters.   
  • Introduction to Propagation: Introduction to acoustic propagation theory and modeling in the ocean environment including selected experimental results and comparison to theory.  Various propagation theories and examples will be discussed including ray theory, mode theory, and the parabolic equation.
  • Overview of Scattering, Reverberation and Ambient Noise: Overview of scattering, reverberation, and ambient noise theory and experimental results. Models for scattering, reverberation, and ambient noise will be introduced as part of this topic.
  • Introduction to the Representation and Processing of Signals in Space and Time: This section will introduce the basic signal processing framework that maps signals from their representation via solutions to the acoustic propagation equations to a simplified representation suitable for developing and analyzing signal processing algorithms. Representations of the signals via the spatial frequency (i.e., the wavenumber) and signal replica vector will be covered with a particular emphasis on the physical insights gained from Fourier analysis. The spatial sampling of signals at arrays of sensors will be introduced along with the concepts of spatial  aliasing. Spatial filtering via linear beamforming will be introduced along with the concepts of spatial resolution, interference rejection and processor robustness. The traditional and correlated-noise matched filters will also be introduced.
  • Introduction to Detection, Classification, Localization and Tracking:  Introduction to the basic functional elements of sonar signal processing:  localization, detection, tracking and classification. The objective, relevant performance measures, design approach, practical aspects, and key concepts are covered through theory and examples from active and passive sonar applications. The primary focus is on detection and localization with only brief introductions to tracking and classification.
  • Advanced Detection Concepts: This section covers the detection problem in more detail.  The detection-threshold term in the sonar equation is related to detector performance for common scenarios.  The process of detector design through signal and noise characterization and hypothesis testing is presented for both signals with known form (matched filter detector) and signals with unknown form (energy detector).  Also covered are practical aspects of detection such as normalization, Doppler filter banks, and estimating detection performance.
  • Marine Bioacoustics: Provides an introduction to the role of active and passive acoustic technology in studying organisms in the marine environment. Topics include marine animal hearing, marine animal acoustic communication, remote sensing, and the impacts of sound on marine animals.
  • Marine Acoustic Remote Sensing: Introduction to the application of acoustics in the study of the undersea environment and an overview of the concepts and systems used for making underwater measurements. Specific topics include the use of acoustics as a tool in oceanographic instrumentation, the use of acoustics in the study of ocean processes, and current issues in ocean acoustics research.
  • Underwater Acoustic Communications: This section will cover the transmission, reception and processing of acoustic communications signals in realistic ocean environments.  It will describe the common methods of encoding information on acoustic signals as well as the processing methods by which the information is extracted from the received signals.  Both adaptive and non-adaptive techniques will be covered.  The impact of different environmental processes on communications system performance will be investigated as will methods of modeling and predicting the performance of underwater acoustic communications systems.
  • Acoustic Scattering: Understanding acoustic scattering is central to the design and operation of effective active sonar systems. This session explores the principal scattering mechanisms and models and how scattered returns encode information that can be used for estimating properties about the environment or for the detection and classification of targets..
  • Transducer Materials and Devices: Principles of transduction and sonar transducer design; electromechanical analog circuits; frequency response characteristics; coupling coefficient; efficiency; directivity characteristics of receivers; transducer measurement techniques; discussion of calibration facilities.
  • Imaging Sonar: The imaging session will provide an overview of a number of imaging modalities including forward looking, sidescan, and synthetic aperture sonar. This session will establish the similarities between these modalities and describe the differences in the imagery products generated from each type of sonar.
  • Array Concepts: This section will cover an array of topics (pun intended);  the physical geometry of arrays:  linear, planar, cylindrical, spherical, annular, waveguide, elliptical, etc.;  amplitude and phase/time delay shading affects for 1D, 2D, and 3D arrays;  effects of baffle and backing conditions;  effects of channel to channel phase and gain variances on directivity and SONAR performance; resonance vs. non-resonance transduction trades for transmitter, receiver, and transmitter/receiver array performance optimization;  transducer and electronics noise considerations;  design considerations for a range of frequencies (100 Hz to 2 MHz); and near-field versus far-field directivity.
  • Demonstrations in Acoustics and Signal Processing: Demonstrations related to course material in transduction, acoustic propagation, and signal processing. Transducer characteristics; beamforming and array performance; parametric arrays; waveguide propagation; reflection from smooth and rough surfaces; target scattering; frequency domain processing; matched filtering and signal detection.

Our instructors selected for this course bring expertise from both academia and industry; all are knowledgeable educators, actively involved in theoretical and applied research in the topics they present. All instructors will be available to confer with individual participants about their own particular research questions. Provided below is a list of the course instructors:

  • Doug Abraham has performed basic and applied research in active and passive sonar signal processing at Navy, NATO and university laboratories. His teaching experience includes a variety of courses relevant to sonar signal processing including digital signal processing, signal detection theory and array signal processing.
  • Daniel Brown has over two decades of experience applied to sonar signal processing with an emphasis on synthetic aperture sonar imaging. Professor Brown’s research has focused on sonar image formation, techniques for acoustics navigation, and sonar performance modeling.
  • Anthony Lyons is a research professor at the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping and Faculty in the Ocean Engineering and Oceanography Programs at the University of New Hampshire, Durham. His research projects have included studies of shallow-water acoustic propagation, acoustic interaction with the seafloor and sea surface, and high-resolution characterization of seafloor sediments.
  • Jennifer Miksis-Olds: Dr. Miksis-Olds is a Research Professor at the University of New Hampshire holding positions in the School of Marine Science & Ocean Engineering and the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping. Her research employs acoustic methodologies to answer biological questions in the marine environment.  Her primary interests include animal behavior and communication, the effect of anthropogenic activities on animals and their environment, ocean soundscape monitoring and modelling, and the development of technology to observe animals in their natural environment. 
  • Thomas Montgomery is a research associate at the Applied Research Laboratory at The Pennsylvania State University and holds a Ph.D. in engineering acoustics. During his career he has worked on the design and fabrication of underwater transducers and sonar systems. His current research interests include broadband transducer arrays, synthetic aperture sonar (SAS), and transduction materials characterization.
  • Derek Olson is an educator and researcher in the field of ocean acoustics. His research interests lie in measurements and modeling of acoustic interactions with the ocean environment, primarily the seafloor. He focuses on complex environments, including rocky seafloors, and rough, layered sediments.
  • James Preisig has been an international leader in the field of adaptive signal processing, underwater acoustics and underwater acoustic communications for over three decades. He has authored or co-authored 31 peer reviewed journal publications, has organized and/or led multiple national and international forums on challenges and research in high frequency acoustics and underwater acoustic communications and has taught graduate courses at Northeastern University and MIT on adaptive signal processing and related topics.
  • Chad Smith is a senior research assistant at The Pennsylvania State University Applied Research Laboratory and holds an M.S. in acoustics. He has spent almost two decades in the field of acoustics in a combination of industry and academic research, including a large range of experimental efforts both at-sea and terrestrial. His research interests include underwater and atmospheric acoustic propagation, signal coherence, and signal processing.

For those wishing to stay on the UNH Durham Campus, accommodations are available at Mills Hall. This is an air conditioned facility. Mills is a large, suite-style residence hall, centrally located in the heart of the campus. The hall is located close to downtown and adjacent to Holloway Commons where the short course takes place. Suites accomodate four to nine people with a shared bathroom. Lounge space is available on each floor. UNH wireless access is available throughout campus.

The building has an elevator. If you need a handicap accessible room, please contact us at or call (603) 862-1900.

Single occupancy: $58 per person, per night.
Options for those wishing to stay close to campus (within walking distance of course)

There are a number of hotels available in both Portsmouth and Dover, NH. Both cities are a short driving distance from the campus.


Three area airports provide service to this portion of New England:

    Boston-Logan International Airport (BOS) is an hour-and-a-half drive from Durham
    Manchester Airport (MHT) is an hour drive from Durham
    Portland Jetport (PWM) is an hour drive from Durham

For ease of travel, Manchester Airport is recommended.

​Manchester Airport (MHT):
Phone: (603) 624-6556
One Airport Road
Manchester, NH 03103

Boston-Logan International Airport (BOS):
Phone: (800) 235-6426
1 Harborside Drive
Boston, MA 02128

Portland Jetport (PWM):
Phone: (207) 874-8877
1001 Westbrook St.
Portland, ME 04102


If you are driving a vehicle to campus, you will need a permit to park in the UNH parking lots. Permits are required Monday through Friday. Parking permits are available for purchase at time of registration at $55 for the week or $12 per day.

For those registering for both accommodations and parking permits, the parking permit will be provided in the welcome packet you will receive upon check-in. The permit must then be displayed facing out on the rear-view mirror of your vehicle when on campus.

For those commuting to campus, a parking code will be emailed to you prior to the course. Parking for commuters will be available in the Mill Road Visitors Lot.

UNH is not liable for any parking fines you incur from UNH or the town of Durham. If you park in a metered space anywhere in Durham, please follow the instructions at the parking machine located near the parking areas. For those staying in Adams Tower West, please do not park on Strafford Avenue, as the permit can only be used in the Strafford Parking Lot and spaces for handicap parking to the right of the kiosk.


Before beginning your registration, please read the following information about your payment method options.

To pay by VISA or MasterCard: Please complete the online registration form and then click on "Pay Full Cost Online" at the bottom of the page.

To pay by American Express or Discover: Please complete the online registration form and then click on the "Commit to Pay Using Other Payment Options" button at the bottom of the page. Print the registration details or email them to yourself by clicking on the link at the bottom of the confirmation page. Then please call the UNH Conferences & Catering department at (603) 862-1900 with your American Express or Discover payment information.

Cancellation Policy

Cancelations must be submitted in writing and mailed to University of New Hampshire, Conferences and Catering, Stillings Hall, Room G55, 20 Ballard St., Durham, NH 03824. Refunds, less a cancelation fee of $50, will be given if a cancellation is received 15 days prior to the event. There will be no refunds for cancelations received less than 15 days prior to the scheduled event. There will be no refunds for nights not stayed.

Further Assistance

For help with registration or logistics, email or call (603) 862-1900.