Faculty Directory

Shamma, Shihab

Shamma, Shihab

Electrical and Computer Engineering
The Institute for Systems Research
Brain and Behavior Institute
2203 A.V. Williams Building

Shihab Shamma received his B.S. degree in 1976 from Imperial College, in London, U.K. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University in 1977 and 1980, respectively. Dr. Shamma received his M.A. in Slavic Languages and Literature in 1980 from the same institution.

Dr. Shamma has been a member of the University of Maryland faculty since 1984, when he started as an Assistant Professor in the Electrical Engineering Department. He has been associated with the Institute for Systems Research since its inception in 1985, and received a joint appointment in 1990. He is a fellow of the Acoustical Society of America and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

Dr. Shamma's research deals with issues in computational neuroscience, euromorphic engineering, and the development of microsensor systems for experimental research and neural prostheses. Primary focus has been on studying the computational principles underlying the processing and recognition of complex sounds (speech and music) in the auditory system, and the relationship between auditory and visual processing. Signal processing algorithms inspired by data from neurophysiological and psychoacoustical experiments are being developed and applied in a variety of systems such as speech and voice recognition and diagnostics in industrial manufacturing. Other research interests included (at various times) the development of photolithographic microelectrode arrays for recording and stimulation of neural signals, a VLSI implementations of auditory processing algorithms, and development of robotic systems for the detection and tracking of multiple sound sources.

Honors and awards

Fellow, Acoustical Society of America Fellow (2004)

Fellow, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (2018)

ISR Outstanding Faculty Award (2007)


Representation of the acoustic signal at various levels in mammalian auditory systems. Ranges from theoretical models of auditory processing in early and central auditory stages, to neurophysiological investigations of the auditory cortex, to psychoacoustical experiments of human perception of acoustic spectral profiles

Six Clark School Faculty Receive 2024 DURIP Awards

DURIP awards support university research in technical areas of interest to the Department of Defense.

Neural and computational mechanisms underlying musical enculturation

Shihab Shamma will combine computational and brain research techniques to elucidate the mechanisms behind enculturation.

NSF funding to Fermüller, Muresanu, Shamma for musical instrument distance learning using AI

'VAIolin' is a feedback system to provide advice based on visual and auditory analysis and causal relationships of errors.

Congratulations May 2023 ISR graduates!

Here's a list of May graduates with ISR ties---at all degree levels.

Giving back: New solar panels support a local urban farm

Clark School staff, students and faculty help historic Silver Spring produce farm become more sustainable.

ISR-affiliated graduates, December 2022

ISR congratulates these students, all advised by ISR faculty!

Alum Sidiropoulos receives three IEEE Signal Processing Society awards

The former student of John Baras won the SPS Claude Shannon-Harry Nyquist Technical Achievement Award, the Best Paper Award, and the Donald G. Fink Overview Paper Award.

Training Can Improve Older Adults’ Ability to Discriminate Rapid Changes in Sound

Findings support subsequent studies on hearing loss-reversing interventions

Congratulations ISR Spring 2022 graduates!

We congratulate graduates at all levels who have ISR advisors!

Creative Movement, 'On Display'

Human Sculpture Court Part of Workshop Exploring the Brain and Dance

Shamma joins former student Mounya Elhilali in new MURI soundscape project

The researchers will identify the nature and role of acoustic representations in guiding perception and behavior in humans, animals, and models.

Internal predictive model characterizes brain's neural activity during listening and imagining music

Two "Music of Silence" papers by Shamma, Di Liberto and Marion have implications for computational models of sensory perception.

The brain makes sense of math and language in different ways

Distinct regions in the brain use their own neural pathways and networks to process either spoken math or language.

ECE Names 2020-2021 Distinguished Dissertation Fellows

The fellowships are awarded to outstanding students in the final stages of dissertation work in recognition of their research excellence.

Cornelia Fermüller is PI for 'NeuroPacNet,' a $1.75M NSF funding award

The resulting "network of networks" will further the scientific grand challenge of developing neuromorphic artificial intelligence.

AESoP symposium features speakers, organizers with UMD ties

The symposium highlights research on hearing, speech and language that makes use of novel EEG or MEG signal processing.

Shamma, colleagues publish in Journal of Neuroscience

Paper explores the neural basis of the brain's efficient auditory encoding.

ISR friend John Rinzel wins IBT Mathematical Neuroscience Award

Rinzel, an NYU professor, works closely with ISR's neural systems group.

UMD auditory cortex research featured in Nature Neuroscience

Study reveals how the brain nimbly and rapidly change responses to incoming sensory stimuli depending upon the cognitive context of the moment.

NSF funds Shamma, Espy-Wilson for neuromorphic and data-driven speech segregation research

The project will investigate how mimicking the brain's auditory processing can address AI signal processing challenges.

Fermuller, Shamma, Etienne-Cummings receive NSF grant for 'Research Coordination Network'

The network will advance understanding of how biological systems learn complex symbolic signals, and create artificial systems with similar capabilities.

Maryland researchers develop computational approach to understanding brain dynamics

This paper published in PNAS develops a signal processing framework for extracting dynamic functional networks from neuronal data at unprecedented resolutions.

Shihab Shamma elected IEEE Fellow

Shamma was selected for his work applying signal processing to auditory neuroscience.

Five ISR faculty part of $8 million NIH grant to combat hearing loss in older people

Multidisciplinary research will examine strategies to improve communication challenges.

Jonathan Fritz promoted to Research Scientist

Fritz is well known for his work in neuroscience research.

Fritz, Shamma are collaborators on new DARPA Targeted Neuroplasticity Training Program

The University of Maryland will receive up to $8.58 million from DARPA for the research, which is led by the UMD Center for Advanced Study of Language.

Subramanian and Wheeler win 2015 ISR awards

Graduate student and staff member honored at annual ceremony.

Shamma, Horiuchi co-PIs on NSF cortical architectures grant

Research will design systems that perceive and act in cluttered and noisy scenes.

Shihab Shamma named to NIH advisory council

The National Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Advisory Council advises the Secretary of HHS and the directors of NIH and its NIDCD.

Shamma receives NIH grant to study spectro-temporal plasticity in the brain's neuronal networks

Researchers will explore underlying mechanisms that give rise to functional plasticity in the auditory cortex.

UMD neuroscience researchers publish in the journal Neuron

Paper suggests the brain’s auditory, visual and somatosensory systems may have a similar functional hierarchical structure.

Yin, Fritz, Shamma publish neuroplasticity study in Journal of Neuroscience

Rapid changes in neural pathways and synapses in the brain closely reflect the time and frequency of the tasks being performed.

Depireux, Elhilali co-edit auditory cortex techniques handbook

Book is the first to explain "broadband" techniques used in the study and modeling of the auditory pathway.

Six ECE Graduate Students Selected as Future Faculty Fellows

Students striving toward a career in academia take part in a selective fellowship to prepare for the future.

ECE Names 2012-2013 Distinguished Dissertation Fellows

Anand, Fan, Guan, and Xie recognized for outstanding research.

‘Cocktail party effect’ helps us focus in noisy environments

New research published in Neuron shows cooperation among brain's neural responses.

Alumna Mounya Elhilali wins ONR Young Investigators Award

Prestigious early career award will fund research in active listening.

Shihab Shamma is PI on €3.3M European Research Council Advanced Grant

Project will investigate a radically novel view of 'active' hearing.

ECE Names 2011-2012 Distinguished Dissertation Fellows

Ekrem, Ropp, Shroff, and Tyagi recognized for research excellence in their dissertations.

ISR hosts Iraqi higher education delegation

Delegates meet with President Loh, Provost Wylie and other officials.

Researchers publish human auditory system study in PLoS Biology

Article details recent progress made in understanding the brain’s computational mechanisms for decoding speech.

Auditory researchers publish sensory processing research in PNAS

Study could lead to more effective approaches to behavioral training.

Telluride newspaper writes about Neuromorphic Cognition Engineering Workshop

ISR faculty, staff, students key to the workshop's planning and organization.

Shamma, Kanold receive DURIP funding

The DoD DURIP program supports the purchase of state-of-the-art equipment for defense research.

Shamma, Baras receive MIPS grant funding

Research will improve speech separation software, develop broadband Internet-via satellite system.

Shamma selected as Blaise Pascal International Research Chair

Allocation of a chair is a major event of international scientific life.

Article by auditory researchers appears in Nature Neuroscience

This is the second article by the group to appear in the journal in 2010.

Researchers' Study Reveals Surprises about How the Brain Processes Sound

Profs. Shamma and Kanold present findings of auditory cortex research in Nature Neuroscience.

Alumna Mounya Elhilali wins NSF CAREER award

Research will develop algorithms for challenging complex sound and speech processing problems.

Jonathan Simon lead author of article published in PLoS Biology

Research focuses on the cognitive process of attention in a complex auditory scene.

ISR appoints three new assistant research scientists

Bandyopadhyay, Depireux, Sterbing-D’Angelo to join faculty in July.

Shihab Shamma Quoted in New York Times Story about Auditory Cues

ECE/ISR auditory researcher talks about how the ear and eye interpret signals in similar ways.

ISR faculty participating in two Department of Defense MURI projects

Baras, Abed, Martins and Shamma to conduct research in multi-university research initiatives.

Alumnus Bill Byrne promoted to Reader at Cambridge

Former student of Shihab Shamma conducts research in speech recognition and synthesis.

Shihab Shamma named to NIH study section

Professor will contribute to U.S. biomedical research efforts in auditory systems.

REU students spending summer in research

The 12 undergraduate students are participating in NSF's Research Experiences for Undergraduates program.

Shamma, Kanold receive DURIP award for advanced imaging technology

The researchers will purchase a a laser scanning 2-photon system.

ISR postdoc and alumna Mounya Elhilali to join Johns Hopkins University

Elhilali will become assistant professor in January 2008.

ISR faculty host CRCNS Principal Investigators' Meeting

Event at University of Maryland draws 130 participants.

Shihab Shamma wins outstanding faculty award

Research has uncovered computational principles underlying the processing and recognition of complex sounds in the auditory system.

Shihab Shamma featured in National Public Radio interview

January 2007—ISR professor reflects on current situation in his home country Iraq for All Things Considered.

Shamma, Simon, Fritz receive five-year, $1.57 million NIH grant

Research to focus on neural correlates of streaming of complex sounds

Horiuchi, Shamma labs cited by IEEE Spectrum magazine

The flagship publication for electrical engineers names them on "leading labs" list

Shamma receives grant from Honda for robotics work

Funding will support research on auditory scene analysis

2005 ISR Awards honor Adomaitis, Nesgarani, Briggs

Outstanding faculty, grad student and staff member selected

Shamma named ASA fellow

Acoustical Society of America recognizes professor for auditory system contributions

Professor Shamma interviewed by news media after voting in Iraq election

January 2005—Reporters spoke to the ISR professor as he left the New Carrolton, Md. polling place.

Moss is PI for "Innovative Technologies Inspired by Biosonar"

Research will study transformation of sensory information to motor commands for adaptive behaviors.

Kalluri to join Starkey Research Labs

ISR postdoctoral researcher will be a research scientist in Berkeley Calif. beginning in September 2004.

Undergrad Jennifer Roberts wins two prestigious awards

April 2004—Graduating senior wins both NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Award and Hertz Foundation award for upcoming graduate study.

Shamma, Fritz receive $1.25 million NIH grant

Research to focus on "Spectro-Temporal Plasticity in Primary Auditory Cortex"

Moss, Horiuchi lead Neuroscience Symposium

Symposium part of Bioscience Research and Technology Review Day.

Nikolaos Kanlis joins Texas A&M faculty

June 2002—Former student of Shihab Shamma will be assistant professor.

Shamma, Horiuchi, Baras, Krishnaprasad, Moss awarded acoustic sensors contract

Team will develop intelligent and noise-robust interfaces for MEMS acoustic sensors for DARPA

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)

  • Fellow, 2018

Acoustical Society of America

  • Fellow, 2004