Cham Athwal

Associate Head of School (Research)

School of Computing and Digital Technology
0121 331 5458

Cham Athwal is Head of Research in the School of Computing and Digital Media Technology. He teaches on the BSc (Hons) courses for Digital Media Technology, and Sound Engineering and Production.

An experienced lecturer and researcher, Cham has led numerous technology transfer projects, as well as working as an experienced external examiner and course validator. He has skills and knowledge in several areas of IT, including software development, web technologies and multimedia, as well as image and video processing, 3D modelling, animation and virtual reality.

Cham initially joined the University to teach programming and software engineering, before becoming Course Director for the Graduate Diploma in IT and developing one of the first BSc degrees in Multimedia Technology. Prior to this, he worked as a research scientist at the Universities of Southampton and Lancaster. Cham also spent two years as a CERN Fellow in Geneva, as well as leading a research and development group at the General Electric Company.

Alongside his teaching, Cham has worked on projects funded by the Department of Trade and Industry, the European Regional Development Fund, and the EU research and development framework. His award-winning KTP project saw him develop a digital video-based system for the analysis of car crash tests. His major recent technology transfer activity has been managing a large ERDF-funded project that provides access to advanced web–based ICT technologies to SMEs.

Current Activity

Cham coordinates and leads the research activities within the school. He has supervised several MPhil and PhD students, covering subjects ranging from digital audio processing to virtual environments. He is responsible for several shorter accelerator projects, which explore interesting digital media technology research topics. Cham is also a member of the Faculty’s Research Degrees Committee.

An experienced funding proposal and bid writer, Cham is also the first port of call for companies or institutions interesting in developing collaborations for a range of projects. These projects are usually within the areas of acoustics and digital music processing, digital image and video processing, animation and virtual environments, and web and social media technologies.

Cham is the Academic Leader for a KTP on the use of web and social media technologies with the British Association of Social Workers (BASW). He has recently completed the supervision of a KTP on the use of web-based video with Gas Street Works Limited, and a shorter KTP on the development of text-to-singing technology for Lickworx Ltd.

Areas of Expertise
  • 3D modelling
  • Animation
  • Digital image processing
  • Digital music processing
  • Interactive technologies
  • Multimedia
  • Simulation
  • Video processing
  • Virtual environments
  • Web technologies

PhD Physics
MSc Physics
BSc (Hons) Physics


Institution of Engineering and Technology


Hough, G., Williams, I., Athwal, C. (2015) Fidelity and Plausibility of Bimanual Interaction in Mixed Reality

Köküer, M. MacLachlan, I.A., Jančovič, P. and Athwal, C. (2014) ‘Automated detection of single-note ornaments in traditional Irish flute playing,’ Fourth International Workshop on Folk Music Analysis, Istanbul, Turkey, 6th – 7th June.

Ward D,  Athwal C, Kokuer M, ‘An efficient time-varying loudness model', IEEE Workshop on
Applications of Signal Processing to Audio and Acoustics (WASPAA), New Platz, NY, 2013

Barbosa, I.B. , Theoharis, T. , Schellewald, C. , Athwal, C., ‘Transient biometrics using finger nails’, IEEE Sixth International Conference on Biometrics: Theory, Applications and Systems (BTAS), Arlington, VA , 2013

Sean Enderby, Zlatko Baracskai and Cham Athwal, ‘Methods for real time harmonic excitation of acoustic signals’, Proceedings of the Sound and Music Computing Conference SMC 2013, Stockholm, Sweden, p 27-33, 2013

Islah Ali-MacLachlan, Munevver Kokuer, Peter Jancovic, Ian Williams, Cham Athwal, ‘Quantifying Timbral variations in Traditional Irish Flute Playing’, Proceedings of the Third International Workshop on Folk Music Analysis (FMA2013), Amsterdam, Netherlands, p7-13 , June 2013 

Athwal C, “Detection of deformable structures in video by polynomial fitting using efficient hough transform”. Springer Lecture Notes in Computer Science,  LNCS 7425, 2012

Hough G, Athwal C & Williams I, “Advanced occlusion handling in virtual studios”,  Springer Lecture Notes in Computer Science,  LNCS 7425, pp. 287–294, 2012

Stables R,  Athwal C  & Cade R, "Drum Pattern Humanisation Using a Recursive Bayesian Framework",  Audio Engineering Society ( AES) 133rd Convention, San Francisco, 2012

Ward D, Athwal C & Reiss J, "Automating time varying gains in multi-track mixing using a model of loudness and partial loudness", Audio Engineering Society ( AES) 133rd Convention, San Francisco, 2012

Stables R,  Athwal C  & Bullock J,  “Fundamental Frequency Modulation in Singing Voice Synthesis”, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Accepted for March 2012

Hough G, Athwal C and Williams I, “ScaMP: A Head Guided Projection System”, ACM Designing Interactive Systems'12. Newcastle, UK, 2012

A.M. Thomas, H. Shah, P. Moore, P. Rayson, A.J. Wilcox, K. Osman, C. Evans, C. Chapman, C. Athwal, D. While, H.V. Pham, S. Mount. “E-education 3.0 Challenges and Opportunities for the Future of iCampuses”, CISIS-2012, The 6th International Conference on Complex, Intelligent and Software Intensive Systems, Palermo Italy 2012

Williams I, Athwal C and Foss J,” Developing Real-time Virtual Environments from Video Data”,IET Seminar on Video Data Analysis, IET, London 2011

Stables R,  Athwal C  & Bullock J, “Towards a Model for the Humanisation Of Pitch Drift in Singing Voice Synthesis”, International Computer Music Conference (ICMC-2011), Huddersfield, July 2011

Stables R & Athwal C, “The Humanisation of Stochastic Processes for the Modelling of F0 Drift in Singing”, Frontiers of Research on Speech and Music / Computer Music Modeling and Retrieval (FRSM /CMMR- 2011), Bhubaneswar, March 2011

Elson, B., Athwal C., Reynolds P., “Creating the World of Augmented Dental Training”, E-Learn 2009, World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government and Healthcare,

Robinson J.E., Athwal C.S. and van Reeven V., “Analysing Engine Behaviour Through High Speed Video”, Engine Expo, Stuttgart, 2005

Robinson J.E. and Athwal C.S., “Measurement of Accessory Drivebelt Oscillations via High Speed Imaging”, Advanced Powertrain Control Symposium, Birmingham, 2004

Athwal C S , Smith S, Vu H, “Incubating Screen Media: Complete supply chain support for West Midlands screen-based media cluster“, Creative Clusters Conference, Brighton, 2004

Athwal C.S. and Robinson J., “Synchronised Multimedia for Engineering and Scientific Analysis”, Multimedia Systems Journal, 9, 365-377, 2003

Taylor J F & Athwal C S, “User Driven Mass Customisation of Jewellery Products via 3D Visualisation”, Logistics Research Network Conference, Birmingham, 2002

Onifade B & Athwal CS, “Measuring the Success of Early Testing – Revisited”, Test Congress 2000, London

Onifade B & Athwal CS, “Measuring the Success of Early Testing “, BCS SIGIST Colloquium, London 1999

J Robinson, M Dallaway, P Wellicome & C S Athwal, “Crash Data Presentation Leveraging Existing Data Storage”, Society of Automotive Engineers, SAE 1998, Detroit

Athwal C S, “Vehicle Mission Simulation: Usability and Flexibility”, 15th International Electric Vehicle Symposium, EVS-15, Brussels, 1998

C S Athwal,  J Robinson & A Cole, “The design and implementation of a multimedia system for the interactive and time synchronised analysis of vehicle crash tests”, Lecture Notes in Computer Science 1242,  79-94, 1997

C S Athwal,  J Robinson & A Cole, “The design and implementation of a multimedia system for the interactive analysis of vehicle crash tests”, Eurographics UK Conference, Norwich, 1997

J Robinson & C S Athwal, “Multimedia Crashes”, Computer Bulletin, Sept. 1996, p12-13

M Dallaway, A Cole, J Robinson & C S Athwal, “A Multimedia Presentation and Analysis System for Vehicle Crash Testing, Automobile Abstracts, June 1996, p1-5

C S Athwal, A Cole & J Robinson, “State of the art system to acquire and present data from crashworthiness development programs”, Airbag 2000, Karlsruhe, 1996

M Dallaway, A Cole, J Robinson & C S Athwal, “Systems to acquire and present data from crashworthiness development programs”, Autotest ‘96, Barcelona, 1996

M Smith & C S Athwal, “A study of the use of cost effective multimedia in a manufacturing environment”, Advances in Manufacturing Technology X1, Leicester, 1995

C S Athwal & M Cassidy, “A case study lead investigation into approaches towards the development of cal materials using multimedia”, Hypermedia ’95, Sheffield, 1995

C S Athwal & J Robinson, “Demonstration of a Multimedia Teaching Package for Operating Systems”, Developing Human Resources for Industry and Commerce, Coventry, 1995

C S Athwal, “Application of Multimedia to Open Learning”, Euroform Seminar on Open Learning (Cork) 1994

C S Athwal, “Microwave Tube Developments”, EEV Internal Reports (Company Confidential), 1987-90

C S Athwal, “Development of Simulation Programs for Microwave Tubes”, Lancaster University Microwave Research Group Reports 85/4, 86/2-4, 86/6, 87/1 (Company Confidential), 1985-87

C S Athwal, K H Bayliss, R Calder & R V Latham, “Field-induced electron emission from artificially produced carbon sites on broad area copper and niobium electrodes”, IEEE Trans. Plasma Science, Vol. PS-13, 226-229, 1985

C S Athwal, “Location of field-electron emission sites on large area surfaces”, CERN-LEP-VA Report, 1985

C S Athwal & W Weingarten, “Carbon particle induced electron loading in a superconducting cavity”, CERN-EF Report, 1984

C S Athwal & R V Latham, “Switching and other non-linear behaviour associated with prebreakdown electron emission currents”, Journal of Physics D, Applied Physics 17, 1024-1043,  1984

C S Athwal, “Development of electrostatic precipitators”, SERC Report, 1983

C S Athwal, P F Coventry & J F Hughes,” Implications of ion-wind and back-ionisation on precipitator performance”, Inst. Phys. Conf. Ser. No. 66, 167-172, 1983

N K Allen, C S Athwal & R V Latham, “A high resolution electron spectrometer facility for studying the spectra of microscopically localised field emission sites on planar cathodes”, Vacuum, 32, 325-332, 1982

C S Athwal, “An investigation into the nature of electron emitting sites on broad-area metallic electrodes”, PhD Thesis, University of Aston, 1981

C S Athwal & R V Latham, “The effect of the applied field on the energy spectra of electrons field emitted from microscopic sites on broad-area electrodes”, Physica, 104 C, 189-195, 1981

C S Athwal & R V Latham, “A micropoint technique for identifying field emitting sites on broad area high voltage electrodes”, Physica, 104 C, 46-49, 1981