Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Electrical Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Kevin D. Donohue


The complex relationship between array gain patterns and microphone distributions limits the application of traditional optimization algorithms on irregular arrays, which show enhanced beamforming performance for human speech capture in immersive environments. This work analyzes the relationship between irregular microphone geometries and spatial filtering performance with statistical methods. Novel geometry descriptors are developed to capture the properties of irregular microphone distributions showing their impact on array performance. General guidelines and optimization methods for regular and irregular array design are proposed in immersive (near-field) environments to obtain superior beamforming ability for speech applications. Optimization times are greatly reduced through the objective function rules using performance-based geometric descriptions of microphone distributions that circumvent direct array gain computations over the space of interest. In addition, probabilistic descriptions of acoustic scenes are introduced to incorporate various levels of prior knowledge for the source distribution. To verify the effectiveness of the proposed optimization methods, simulated gain patterns and real SNR results of the optimized arrays are compared to corresponding traditional regular arrays and arrays obtained from direct exhaustive searching methods. Results show large SNR enhancements for the optimized arrays over arbitrary randomly generated arrays and regular arrays, especially at low microphone densities. The rapid convergence and acceptable processing times observed during the experiments establish the feasibility of proposed optimization methods for array geometry design in immersive environments where rapid deployment is required with limited knowledge of the acoustic scene, such as in mobile platforms and audio surveillance applications.