Course Outline
Computational Perception
COMP 546 (4 credits)
Winter 2017
TR 11:35-12:55   BURN 1B23

Instructor:    Professor Michael Langer
Office:        McConnell Engineering, rm. 329
Tel:             514-398-3740
Office Hours:           TJ 1-2 or by appointment

Teaching Assistant (T.A.)   David Bourque
Email:                                 david.bourque [at]
Office and Hours:               by appointment

Official Course Description from McGill Calendar

Computational models of visual perception and audition. Vision problems include stereopsis, motion, focus, perspective, color. Audition problems include source localization and recognition. Emphasis on physics of image formation, sensory signal processing, neural pathways and computation, psychophysical methods.


This course examines fundamental computational problems in visual and auditory perception. Unlike traditional perception courses offered in Psychology or Physiology departments which emphasize neural mechanisms, this course emphasizes computational aspects of perception. The course consists of two main topics, namely vision and audition. For both of these perceptual modalities, we begin by examining the signals from the environment, namely visual and auditory images, and the information that is contained in these images.   For vision, we consider color, shading, binocular disparity, motion, and focus.   For audition, we consider information carried by impact vs, non-impact sounds, echos, as well as binaural timing and intensity differences. For both vision and audition, we then examine how images are processed by the sensory system, using concepts and tools from linear system theory.   For vision, we discuss retinal and cortical processing. For audition, we discuss how sound waves are decomposed into frequency bands by the ear and encoded by the auditory cortex. We then examine how properties of the environment can be inferred from the information that is extracted from images.  For vision, we consider how depth is estimated and for audition, we consider how depth and direction are estimated.   

Detailed Course Content and Materials

The course will consist of 24 lectures, each 80 minutes. Lecture slides, notes, and exercises will be given as PDFs on the public course web page . Students will be examined on this posted material. There is no textbook for the course.


There are no official prerequisites for the course. It is assumed students can program in a high level language, at least that level of COMP 250, and are comfortable with basic mathematics needed for an undergrad degree in computer science, in particular: It is also assume students have a basic understanding of waves and optics (CEGEP level or PHYS 101/102).

The course will cover basic psychology and physiology of vision and audition. It will also cover the basic tools of linear system theory. No prior knowledge of visual or auditory psychology or physiology or linear systems theory is assumed.


The course grade will be determined as follows:
According to School of Graduate Studies rules, M.Sc. and Ph.D. students must achieve a grade of 65 or more to pass the course.

Other Policies/Rules

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