Michael A. Ramalho, Ph.D.

  • AcousticComms Consulting
  • Robust Low Bit Rate Communications in Reverberant Environment Specialist
  • Proximity As A Service Designer (third-party proof of location at a point in time using only noise-like or unhearable sound)
  • General Real-Time IP Media Transport Expert
  • Lossless compression expert
  • Machine Learning: Voice User Interface Expert
  • Experienced in Standards Bodies (IETF, ITU-T, ETSI, 3GPP, ANSI)

  EMAIL: mar42@cornell.edu
  PHONE (mobile): +1 (732) 832-9723
  Personal URL: http://ramalho.webhop.info
  Cisco Teams (audio/viseo/share): Invite: "mar41@cornell.edu" as a person

Thanks for visiting my personal URL! If you are reading this, you might be interested in my skill set and what I have been doing lately.

I was recently on sabbatical and am presently semi-retired. I've been either continuously employed (or finishing my PhD) for my entire post-college life - not one day off! I have enjoyed a well-deserved break with my family and am now consulting part-time with many small companies (e.g., Prometheus Inc. and Parsound ) and working with larger unified communication companies on contact tracing using acoustic communications. I look forward to engagement on specific technology interests of mine including a new found joy in acoustic information transmission in highly reverberant environments (and proximity systems using such technology). To that end, I have founded a consultancy called AcousticComms Consulting.

Prior to my sabatical, I was an independent contributor employed by Cisco Systems. At Cisco I was working on media transport issues, ultrasound transmission technologies and applications of machine learning for speech, voice and noise reduction applcations. Below is a rough chronological version of my professional history.

My education has been focused on the confluence of the following set of technologies: machine learning (Keras/TensorFlow), signal processing, adaptive systems (including classification, clustering, neural networks, and vector quantization), communications (theory and practice), speech signal processing, acoustics and computer networking (involving transport layer). During my mid-career Ph.D. (link at left) I invented the Pitch Mode Modulation Model (a new speech model). I recently obtained an Artificial Intelligence and Specializations Nanodegree at Udacity. However, most of my joy comes from implementation of new technologies born out of the intersection of these areas. I have done this in a variety of roles.

I began my career in Bell Labs where they sent me to Cornell University to complete my masters. Between that education and my sabatical from Cisco Systems I have had a wonderful career spanning the roles of independent contributor, engineering manager (Cisco), engineering director (Bellcore), research manager (Telcordia Technologies), task-force manager (telco operating company VP readouts), and being an early VoIP evangelist (gave many conference presentations, was VoIP Forum Co-Chair and sought out by US senator to provide technology counsel in DC). I even took part IPO of a startup (Voxware) during their public launch in 1996 as their Chief Telephony Technologist.

I have also given back to my profession in the participation on boards of startups (Red Shift Company), public university research boards (Industrial Advisory Board as a Rutgers CAIP Fellow), technical conference leadership (IEEE International Conference on Communications Technical Program Committee Vice-chairman and more), and various university outreach programs (including Rutgers, Stanford, UT Dallas, and Cornell). I will continue such involvement during my sabatical.

I guess you can call me a nerd evangelist who gets excited about the potential of new technologies growing out of the art in many different fields. I am a prolific inventor/innovator with 49 issued US patents (1 more allowed and 6 more pending) and 19 more issued or pending internationally. I have also enjoyed leading high-class technical talent (Distinguished Engineers and MTS) in my technology areas as well as guiding university students as an external member for Ph.D./Master�s thesis committee.

My most recent passions are acoustic information transfer, machine learning for speech and noise reduction applications, rate adaptation for media (voice/video/share) sent over the Internet, lossless compression, practical FEC optimizations (patented a form of "something for nothing" FEC), and proximity solutions. References for these works can be found at the links at the left.

Currently I am most excited about acoustic information transfer in reverberant environments. Although humans are used to communicating in such room environments, it has been long known that information transmission in rooms is much more difficult medium than even wireless radio channels (high-multipath and self-noise limited by reverberant energy). Humans can "decode speech" when the (effective) SNR is negative by up to 15 dB; whereas most traditional communications methods require the noise to be lower than the signal (positive SNRs).

Claude Shannon, in his famous information theory paper in 1949, proved that it is theoretically possible to transmit information at negative SNR (signal power below the noise power), but only at bit rates lower than the channel bandwidth. Shannon�s theory did not however specify how to design such systems.

I, together with another colleague, have exploited this theory specifically for use in highly-reverberant acoustic environments by developing specialized codes not used in radio systems. The result is a class of robust information transfer designs that - when in negative SNR conditions - are within a factor of 10x or so of the Shannon bound. These systems can be used for a variety of applications - such as proximity services, out-of-band authentication schemes or even NFC applications - by virtually any consumer-grade endpoint. Thus virtually any consumer-grade tablet, PC or mobile phone - even those without Bluetooth or NFC capability - can be enabled by this technology! There are a multitude of market opportunities (apps) where this technology can be applied. So perhaps that is the next chapter in my career?

Enough about me on this page. Peruse the links at the left for more information. Feel free to contact me via email or phone. Thanks for listening.


Michael A. Ramalho, Ph.D.

Mineapolis Sclupture Garden Ride on July 13, 2019

Michael A. Ramalho
Last Modified on :  April 6, 2020
Page Owner : Michael A. Ramalho, Ph.D.