J. Anderson Mills III PhD

My Background


I have a diverse background, which often helps me to see the bigger picture and out-of-the-box solutions to problems. My background draws from the following experience:

  • research experience in Europe and the United States
  • project management and product development concerning cutting edge DSP technology
  • PhD in music signal processing utilizing parallel programming, optimization, psychoacoustic modeling, and human experiments
  • mentoring for electrical engineering senior design lab student groups -- projects in acoustics, audio, DSP, microcontrollers, software, and antennas
  • masters in jet engine noise prediction interfacing with computational fluid dynamics (CFD) results
  • production director and engineer at a radio station
  • family electrical construction business -- over many years duties included restocking material, running wire and conduit, preparing electrical plans, and developing custom bidding software currently used for multimillion dollar contracts
  • linux and custom operating system programming for interfacing with custom hardware
  • hobby electronics and speaker design
  • programming from BASIC, COBOL, and assembly to C/C++, Java, and ruby
  • linux system administration for a large academic lab with support services
  • instructor of Acoustics for Musicians and Recording Engineers at the University of Texas

Digging a Little Deeper

Most recently, I have been working on open source projects and as an independent contractor for companies around the United States. Though there are many realms that these projects and contracts have covered, a few include data translation for acoustic analysis and lexical data for a one million song dataset, research for keyword spotting and automatic speech recognition in multiconversation environments, ATmel AVR microcontroller programming for LED array display, and programming of the Minim Java sound libraries.

Prior to consulting, I spent two years at Numediart, a Belgian DSP group and consortium housed at the University of Mons. As a researcher at Numediart, it was my task to create new research projects which pressed the boundaries of DSP in our areas of expertise: hypermedia navigation, body and media, and digital instrument making. After initiating the projects, I would then work as both a project manager and a researcher, spending time both down in the trenches, searching the literature, programming, constructing hardware, and testing, as well as making sure the other researchers were keeping on task.

I have a PhD in Electrical Engineering from The University of Texas. My dissertation topic was automatic algorithms for machine listening and music processing (DSP for music). Specifically, I wrote algorithms to identify percussive instants in electroacoustic music which humans would also identify as percussive. I was the first Electrical Engineering student to request permission for human testing, as my algorithms required a target for optimization which was based on the human response to percussive sounds. I utilized multiple unix machines in parallel to speed the considerable number crunching.

While getting my PhD, I taught two classes in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Texas: Acoustics for Musicians and Recording Engineers, and Senior Design Lab. The first gave me a deep understanding of acoustics as it applies to music creation, performance, listening, and recording. Mentoring student groups in the Senior Design Lab increased my knowledge across a wide variety of audio (amplifier and effects processor design) and acoustics (speaker, microphone, and tuner design) topics. I also had the opportunity to guide groups interested in DSP, power, software, microcontrollers, antennas, user-interface design, control systems, and hardware reliability.

I also have a masters in Acoustics from The Pennsylvania State University, one of the only universities in the United States offering a degree in Acoustics. My thesis discussed the error associated with a specific method of converting computational fluid dynamic (CFD) results into noise predictions for jet engines.

It is also worth mentioning the family electrical construction business, as my experience there has repeatedly proven useful in my practical understanding of electricity and the construction process. My duties in the business started small, restocking stockroom shelves and maintaining equipment, but grew to that of an electrician's assistant when I was capable. After gaining a Electrical and Computer Engineering degree, I came back to the business before pursuing a masters to help create builders plans and support the bidding process. I also returned again before pursuing a PhD and completely digitized the bidding process. I wrote custom bidding software for the company, which still handles bids for multimillion dollar contracts today.