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Digital music expert elected to the UK’s top academy for engineering

A leading expert in digital music at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) has been elected as a new Fellow to the Royal Academy of Engineering.    

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Professor Mark Sandler at Digital Shoreditch Festival in 2013
Professor Mark Sandler at Digital Shoreditch Festival in 2013

Professor Mark Sandler is one of 50 of the UK’s engineers to be welcomed as new Fellows on the day to mark the Academy’s 40th annual general meeting. There are only 1,500 Fellows in total, and Fellowship of the Royal Academy of Engineering is considered to be one of the greatest national achievement that an engineer can receive.  

The honour was awarded in recognition for Professor Sandler’s research contributions in digital music, and in particular computer generated musical analysis.

Commenting on his election, Professor Sandler said: “I am truly honoured to be elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering. I think I will be one of a small minority of Fellows interested in the Creative Industries, and so I hope to be able to raise that sector's profile within the Academy.”

Professor Sandler is one of the pioneers of an area known as ‘music informatics’, which aims to use technology to understand how music is recorded, produced and consumed. He currently specialises in the using technologies that can help categorise and search for sound more efficiently. For example, the project Making Musical Mood Metadata used the latest techniques in digital music analysis and machine learning makes it easier for content producers at the BBC to find a track that chimes with the mood of the programme.

As a Professor of Signal Processing, he has published more than 400 papers and supervised over 30 PhD students. Professor Sandler is the director of QMUL’s internationally renowned Centre for Digital Music and has previously acted as the Head for the School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science, which the Centre is part of.  

Professor Dame Ann Dowling OM DBE FREng FRS, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, said: “For 40 years the Academy has gathered the wisdom, ingenuity and expertise of the nation’s finest engineers to advance and promote excellence in the profession. I am delighted to welcome to our Fellowship 50 more of today’s very best engineering minds. From life-changing equipment revolutionising our hospitals to new tools that are enabling high-tech businesses to flourish, their work has delivered great value to society.”

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