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February 15, 2008

Livermore Laboratory engineer receives prestigious American Acoustical Society award

LIVERMORE, Calif. - James V. Candy, chief scientist for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s Engineering Directorate, has been awarded the prestigious Helmholtz-Rayleigh Interdisciplinary Silver Medal “for his contributions to signal processing and underwater acoustics,” by the Acoustical Society of America (ASA), a society of the American Institute of Physics (AIP).

The award recognizes Candy’s pioneering work developing “model-based signal and image processing techniques” that have improved acoustical detection and measurement for applications in national security, materials science and medicine.


Jim Candy

“Receiving the interdisciplinary silver medal award from the Acoustical Society of America is an overwhelming honor,” Candy said. “I praise the Lord for his gifts, my wife for her endless support, my colleagues for encouragement and my institutions for the opportunity.”
The model-based signal and image processing techniques Candy has developed allow the extraction of critical information from large “noisy” measurement data sets that would not previously have been possible.

Applications include: vibrational failure detection for prosthetic heart valves; target localization in ocean acoustics (i.e. submarines); communications in room acoustics; detecting and imaging flaws in materials for nondestructive evaluation; biomedical imaging for ultrasonic cancer detection; time reversal processing for signal enhancement, detection of radioactive contraband in containers; and synthetic aperture for detecting and tracking underwater and airborne targets.

Candy’s model-based approach incorporates mathematical models of the physics of the environment being measured – such as the ocean – as well as the acoustic measurement process itself into the signal processing system to extract precise information. For example, temperature variations, the movement of currents and depth affect acoustic propagation – the way sound travels – in the ocean. The model-based approach accounts for these variations yielding results of unprecedented reliability.

These model-based techniques were successfully tested at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center during an experiment at Hudson Canyon – an undersea canyon off the coast of New Jersey used by the U.S. Navy to test sonar technologies.

Candy’s work has received international acclaim. He was elected a life member (fellow) of Cambridge University’s Clare Hall College in 2005 and spent a year’s sabbatical organizing the first Nonlinear Statistical Signal Processing Workshop and learning Bayesian signal and imaging techniques, which he is currently applying to Laboratory radiation detection technologies for homeland security.

ASA’s silver medal is awarded to researchers who have made important contributions to multiple technical disciplines. The ASA is the premier international technical society in acoustics dedicated to increasing and diffusing knowledge of acoustics and its practical application. Candy’s award will be presented at the Acoustics ’08 Paris meeting in June organized by the ASA, the European Acoustics Association (EAA) and the Société Française d’Acoustique (SFA) and is a joint meeting of the ASA, European Conference on Underwater Acoustics (ECUA) and the European Conference on Noise Control (Euronoise).

Founded in 1952, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is a national security laboratory, with a mission to ensure national security and apply science and technology to the important issues of our time. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is managed by Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.

Founded in 1952, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is a national security laboratory that develops science and engineering technology and provides innovative solutions to our nation's most important challenges. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is managed by Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration.