Gibbs sampling for time-delay-and amplitude estimation in underwater acoustics

Zoi Heleni Michalopoulou, Michele Picarelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Multipath arrivals at a receiving sensor are frequently encountered in many signal-processing areas, including sonar, radar, and communication problems. In underwater acoustics, numerous approaches to source localization, geoacoustic inversion, and tomography rely on accurate multipath arrival extraction. A novel method for estimation of time delays and amplitudes of arrivals with maximum a posteriori (MAP) estimation is presented here. MAP estimation is optimal if appropriate statistical models are selected for the data; implementation, requiring maximization of a multidimensional function, is computationally demanding. Gibbs sampling is proposed as an efficient means for estimating necessary posterior probability distributions, bypassing analytical calculations. The Gibbs sampler includes as unknowns time delays, amplitudes, noise variance, and number of arrivals. Through Monte Carlo simulations, the method is shown to have a performance very close to that of analytical MAP estimation. The method is also shown to be superior to expectation-maximization, which is often applied to time-delay estimation. The Gibbs sampling approach is demonstrated to be more informative than other time-delay estimation methods, providing complete posterior distributions compared to just point estimates; the distributions capture the uncertainty in the problem, presenting likely values of the unknowns that are different from simple point estimates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)799-808
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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