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Acoustics and Noise Immission Prognosis

Uwe M. Stephenson*

Fachhochschule Hamburg, Fachbereich Bauingenieurswesen, HebebrandstraBe I, 22297 Hamburg, Germany

Summary

Some ideas of a new room acoustical algorithm are outlined combining the advantages of three algorithms in one: the

mirror image source method, the sound particle simulation method and the radiosity method. Transient carriers of energy

are pyramidal beams ("pyrs") each representing a mirror image source which are split at each reflection or diffraction

thereby giving their energy to new pyrs. Above a certain reflection order, the pyrs are quantized with respect to source

position and solid angle. Their number is limited to an optimum. This Quantized Pyramidal Beam Tracing (QPBT)

converges to an efficient time dependent radiosity method, being able to take reflections and diffractions of higher

order into account but avoids the usually expected exponential increase in computation time. Applications concern not

only room acoustics but also the field of noise immission prognosis in a free field. Some fundamental properties of the

algorithm are discussed.

PACS no. 43.55.Ka, 43.58.Ta

1. State of the art are considered to represent constant solid angle fractions of

a spherical wave emitted from a point source. As with all

1.1. Algorithms of room acoustics numerical methods, additional errors have to be taken into

account. With ray tracing, this has to do with the fact that a

With increasing reflection order, the mirror image source

ray, i.e. an infinitesimally thin line, arbitrarily emitted from

(MIS) method (Borish, 1984), ray tracing methods (Krokstad

a source point almost never hits a receiver point. With other

et aI., 1968; Stephenson, 1985; Vian and v. Maercke, 1986)

words, 'pure ray tracing' does not exist. Either the rays or

and, for the reverberation tail, the radiosity method, prove

the receivers must be spatially extended.

to be most efficient. (The term 'radiosity' is well-known in

Rays with a non-vanishing cross section are called beams,

the fields of computer graphics and in lighting simulation,

which, in turn, may be cones with circular cross section

but, curious enough, not among acousticians - although the

or pyramids with polygonal cross sections. Cones have the

radiosity method is nothing else than the numerical formu-

advantage of ease of handling, however, the usually admit-

lation of Kuttruff's integral equation (Kuttruff, 1994).) It is

ted overlapping causes errors (Vian and v. Maercke, 1986).

presupposed here that the reader is familiar with the basic

This can be avoided by using pyramids, since all spaces of

concepts of mirror image source and ray tracing methods.

sound propagation are assumed to be approximately enclosed

Therefore, a short introduction and a quoting of only some

by polyhedra with polygons as walls and, hence, pyramidal

typical publications should be sufficient. However, as the dif-

beams of first order may each simply be built out of a wall

ferent assumptions and versions of these methods are often

polygon and the sound source point. Such a beam tracing

confused, especially the difference between ray and particle

(often implied by 'ray tracing') implies actually a scanning

tracing, the following classification may be useful.

of the room for MIS: Each time a receiver point is found to

The basic assumption of geometrical room acoustics i.e.

be within the beam the 1/r2-distance law of a point source

the optical limiting case of wavelengths small compared with

is applied. At reflections, beams are usually not split. Their

typical room dimensions is common to all methods consid-

new directions are determined by applying an appropriate

ered in this context. The MIS method is the most popular

reflection law to their 'middle rays'. Since in most cases a

method used for graphical ray constructions without com-

part of the beam's energy is reflected by neighbouring walls

puter. It replaces the situation of a source enclosed by a

this causes a scanning error - as it always occurs with a finite

polygonal room by a set of mirror sources in free field visible

number of rays. Pyramidal beams may be split according to

from a receiver, thus it is an indirect but deterministic algo-

the surface fractions which hit different walls of the room;

rithm. Ray tracing, on the other side, is a straight-forward

this avoids the scanning error (see below).

but statistical (or at least quasi-statistical) algorithm nec-

With strict ray tracing, the receivers are spatially extended

essarily depending on computers. Rays, as well as beams,

and are either spheres or cubes or of any shape. The sound

powers of rays or energies of 'sound particles' crossing these

Received 6 March 1995, to be published in ACUSTICA, 'detectors' are summed up. Thus the 1/r2-distance law is

accepted 23 J uly 1995. produced on average, in a statistical way. Concerning the

* Address until 1995: Fraunhofer-Institut fUr Bauphysik OBP),

tracing algorithm, there is no difference between particle and

Nobelstr. 12, 70569 Stuttgart, Germany ray tracing ('particles travel along rays'). The decisive differ-

ACUSTICA· acta acustica

518 U. M. Stephenson:A QuantizedPyramidalBeam Tracing Vol. 82 (1996)

ence lies in the method of detection: with ray tracing one asks considered as a hybrid method of the ray tracing and MIS

for intensities, with the particle model the energy density in a methods. Hybrid models (VorHignder, 1989; Naylor, 1992;

detector volume is the quantity directly computed. Therefore Heinz, 1993) make use of the advantage of the MIS method

the energies of crossing particles have to be weighted with the in yielding exact MIS ideal for auralization and of the ad-

inner crossing distances (or times). The idea is that the longer vantage of ray tracing in avoiding the exponential law of

a particle stays in the detector, the higher is its contribution computation time and replacing it by an L3-law. Recursive

to the energy density. (With stationary emitted sound power, pyramid tracing with splitting, finally is, as will be presented

the immitted energy density is proportional to the integral here, the most effective version of the MIS method.

over the whole echogramme; with an impulse experiment While the MIS method assumes specular reflections, ray

one may consider a short time averaged energy density.) It tracing methods may handle specular and diffuse reflections

is due to that weighting of the particle model that there is as well. Some combined algorithms (Naylor, 1992; Heinz,

no directivity for non-spherical detectors, their sensitivity 1993) exploit this ability. The radiosity method may be used

is exclusively proportional to their volume (which is often preferably for reverberation modelling as the diffusivity of

misunderstood). Only for ray tracing are spherical detectors reflections does not only increase with the 'roughness' of

required. Cubic detectors have a computational advantage as a surface but, due to its finite extension, also with the path

the algorithm to find the next detector being crossed by the length an incident ray has travelled from the source (one may

same particle is very effective (Stephenson, 1985). consider Fresnel zones on the surface). Many authors, espe-

With the radiosity method, radiation interchange depends cially those at Professor Kuttruff's institute, have considered

exclusively on the orientation of pairs of surface elements to the possibilities of combining the advantages of the different

each other (and to a source and receiver point). This permits methods. However, there is still a need for one single univer-

a matrix of constant form factors to be set up. The solution sal algorithm which is effective both for low and high order

of the corresponding linear system of equations yields the reflections, and for both specular and diffuse reflections.

local radiosity values as an eigenvector. A precondition is the

assumption of totally diffuse reflections, or, more crucially,

1.2. The tree problem of introducing diffraction into ray

"particles" must "forget" their past. All surfaces should be

tracing

subdivided into small elements of approximately equal size.

In summary, such a classification of numerical methods in For many problems of sound propagation, especially in a free

room acoustics reads as follows: field, diffraction must be taken into account. While in closed

rooms reflections or the direct sound dominate the sound field

wave theory (for low frequencies):

at almost every place, in free field shadow zones often oc-

finite or boundary element method (FEM or BEM)

cur where sound is incident exclusively via diffraction as for

geometrical theory (high frequencies):

example behind screening walls. While single screening can

specular reflections:

still be handled analytically, e.g. by the deviation approach,

- deterministic: MIS method

these methods fail with multiple screening, which often oc-

specular or diffuse reflections:

curs· with sound propagation in urban or industria] areas.

- statistical: ray tracing methods:

However, also in closed rooms, where apparently specular

- sound particle simulation (arbitrary detectors)

reflections dominate, diffraction occurs according to Babi-

- ray tracing with spherical detectors

net's principle, namely at the walls' edges, which causes

- beam tracing with point receivers:

diffusion to a certain extent. So far, diffraction is mainly a

- cone tracing

low frequency effect.

- pyramid tracing

Another cause of scattering and diffusion is the roughness

·no splitting (criterion: middle ray)

of the surfaces (e.g. at reliefs, stairs etc.), which becomes

,splitting (recursive)

important at higher frequencies. This is usually only glob-

diffuse reflections:

ally described by a diffusivity coefficient D attached to every

- radiosity method

wall (Stephenson, 1985). (D describes the extent to which

The disadvantages of the methods are the following. The the reflection is diffuse; D = 0 for specular reflections,

classical MIS method, with increasing reflection order L, D = 1for diffuse reflections, obeying Lambert's law.) In the

leads to an exponential increase of MIS which have to be field of auralization, it has turned out that rooms modelled

constructed but are increasingly invisible. Hence the MIS with specularly reflecting sound are 'unnatural'. The qua]-

method leads to an exponential increase of computation time ity of aura]ization, which depends more sensitively on high

and becomes ineffective (Stephenson, 1990a). Ray or parti- frequencies, may already be improved by the introduction of

cle tracing methods lead to an undersampling of the room some diffuse reflections.

structure with higher order, and thus also become ineffec- Therefore, diffraction should also be introduced into room

tive later. To reduce the computation time of ray tracing, a acoustics, not only in the somewhat crude way of using dif-

number of methods were tested, mainly based on spatial sub- fusivity coefficients but with a well-defined angular depen-

dividing techniques. For room acoustics, the voxel technique dence. In other words: It is desirable to extend the validity

is most efficient (Forsberg, 1985; Stephenson, I990b). Beam of ray tracing to the lower frequencies, where the usually

tracing, especially cone tracing, as mentioned above, can be assumed 'optical limiting case' is no longer valid and the

ACUSTlCA· acta acustica

Vol. 82 (1996) U. M. Stephenson: A Quantized Pyramidal Beam Tracing 519

Table 1. List of pyr data (to be stored dynamically for each pyr).

• solid angle

• parameters of the last plane having been mirrored (truncating the pyr) for each frequency (octave) band:

• total sound energy (or power)

optionally if diffracted:

• the last source point before diffraction

• position and orientation of the diffracting edge

• diffraction angle around the edge

(with the help of these parameters, the correct angle and distance laws of edge diffraction may be applied

in each octave band)

+

if unquantized:

• source point (top of pyr)

• number of edges

for each edge:

• edge directional vector (normalized to I)

if quantized:

• quantum numbers nr, n{), n", for the position, and n();, ni3 for the direction which refer to the

actual position of the source point and the edge directional vectors of predefined pyr shapes

• rtot = r + ro, where

r = distance from the source point of the unquantized pyr to the receiver and,

in the case of a diffracted pyr,

ro = total travelling distance of all foregoing pyrs

from the original source to that source point

• a key built from the quantum numbers nr, n{), n"" n();, ni3

wavelengths are no longer small compared to the room di- the amplitudes of the diffracted field, receiver points must

mensions. Especially for noise immission prognosis in a free be specified, whereas sound particles are just emitted with-

field, the incorporation of diffraction into ray tracing would out knowing receiver points in advance. With an interaction

make decisive progress. model (Stephenson, 1992), the 'bending strength' of an edge

was introduced decreasing with increasing bypass distance.

In general, the problem is neither how to compute reflec-

This was derived, somewhat heuristically, from the concept

tions nor how to compute diffraction, but how to simulate

that the particle would 'see' a diffracting slit whose width is

any combination of reflection and diffraction events, at least

proportional to the bypass distance. Sound particles passing

approximately. The localization of both reflection points on

by were not split but bent according to an appropriate prob-

(plane) surfaces and of diffraction points on (straight) edges

ability distribution. This model did not depend explicitly on

is governed by the Fermat principle. Thus all extremal paths

the edge-source or edge-receiver distances.

from any source to any receiver point have to be found. This

is, as with the MIS technique, a crucial algorithmical prob- Another similar sound particle diffraction model could

lem, except for some simple cases of the first order. Com- later be derived analytically from the Fresnel-Kirchhoff the-

plicated visibility and clipping problems have to be solved. ory (Stephenson, 1993). Here, the problem of deriving di-

Obviously, this type of algorithm must be inefficient as it may rectivity functions for sound particles to be diffracted when

be assumed that only rays passing near the diffracting edges passing an edge at a distance d was solved by considering the

of an environment really have to be treated. Hence, it is not change of transmission over a semi-infinite screen between

advisable to extend the classical MIS method by diffraction. a source and a receiver point due to a vertical shift just of

Straight-forward methods like the sound particle method d. With this model the reciprocity principle could be satis-

have the advantage that sound propagation is simulated fied. Furthermore, even with less particles, it came to better

directly, and thus events of sound particles passing near agreement with the known results of semi-infinite screen

diffracting edges may easily be detected. However, known diffraction. However, with both models, a large number of

diffraction formulae assume that rays hit edges exactly, sound particles have to be shot near to the edge to yield

whereas sound particles never do that. Also, to compute a "correct" distribution. The postulate of indivisible sound

ACUSTICA . acta acustica

520 U. M. Stephenson: A Quantized Pyramidal Beam Tracing Vol. 82 (1996)

particles was abandoned. Thus with each scattering event, are small compared with the room dimensions, incoherence

sound particles are split into several new ones. It had to be is presupposed and, as with sound particles, energies rather

recognized that staying with one particle and taking the di- than amplitudes are considered. Thus, pyrs are carriers of

rectional distribution as a probability distribution would not energies of different frequency bands (or sound powers with

save computational time as, to the same extent, more sound stationary radiating sources). In summary, a pyr is a tran-

particles had to be emitted from the source which costs even sient carrier of a certain amount of energy of diverging shape

higher computational effort. (transient, as each pyr is going to be split). A complete pyr

However, with higher orders of diffraction, splitting im- data structure is given in Table I.

plies a recursive algorithm, a tree structure of ray tracing,

which makes the computation time explode. Thus all the ad- At the same time, a pyr is equivalent to a MIS with a limited

vantages of the above-mentioned efficient algorithms and of range of radiation and visibility. In contrast to cones, which

the hybrid methods are again destroyed. Also, a simple trun- cause overlapping problems (Vian and v. Maercke, 1986), the

cating of the tree, e.g. above a fixed scattering order, would advantage of pyrs is that the whole solid angle can be densely

not be correct in any case (as the immitted energy rather than covered. At each mirroring at a wall, the wall's edges clip the

the order should be the truncation criterion; however, the pyr, the pyr is mirrored and split up into new ones (Figure I.)

immitted energy is not predictable in advance). In general, wherein the energy which is transported by the pyr is divided

against such an exponential increase of computation time into portions according to the ratio of the cross-sections. The

only a qualitatively new algorithm will help. sum of the solid angles of all the "children" of a MIS equals

the solid angle of the "mother" pyr (Kristiansen et aI., 1993).

The decisive point is, that, during the recursive mirroring,

more and more combinations are dropped, never visible MIS

2. Proposed solutions

(not visible from any receiver point) are never constructed,

2.1. Overcoming the tree structure hence, the tree does not grow exponentially, but only, by

physical reasons, with the reflection order L to the third

The basic idea behind the present work was the following. power. The degree of splitting decreases to I, and thus the

Within an enclosure where the total energy decreases with mirroring converges against the non-splitting beam tracing

time, it cannot make sense to follow an exponentially in- (Figure 2.). In contrast to that kind of pyr tracing, with the

creasing number of particles, particularly because details of classical MIS method, invisible MIS of the Lth order may

the sound field become less audible with decay time. (The have visible "children", MIS of the (L + l)th order, and,

diffusivity and hence the degree of splitting itself is even hence, for every receiver point, an exponentially growing

increasing with reflection order.) Why then is the radiosity number of MIS has to be tested. Thus pyr tracing is equivalent

method so efficient, although it handles diffuse reflections to the MIS method being its probably most efficient version

which can be considered to be a kind of diffraction? Energy (presumably equivalent to the method of Lee (Lee and Lee,

flows are not only split but also re-unified! The number of 1988), which, however is explained less clearly).

"rays" or paths of energy interchange remains KJ (if Ko is

the number of wall elements). To realize this procedure with However, the intersection of pyrs with polygons, and clip-

sound particles, the sound particles would have to be traced ping of the pyrs by "barring" walls of non-convex rooms is

in parallel and it has to be checked which sound particles are more complicated than with ray tracing. While with ray trac-

approximately at the same place and travel in approxiately the ing, at each reflection within a loop over all walls, a point-

same direction. However, a statistical analysis showed that in-polygon-test has to be performed, with pyr tracing the

the probability for that coincidence is extremely small, and two-dimensional problem of a polygon-polygon-intersection

the computation time would explode before recombinations has to be solved. The overlapping polygons each form a re-

occur. Hence, the sound particle model has to be abandoned! flected pyr, the remaining polygon is tested for intersection

A method to overcome the tedious searching for coincidence with another wall etc. (see the splitting of fans in the two-

is the "sorting" of energy into pre-defined quantized energy dimensional case of Figure I). This is continued until the pyr

carriers of standardized form. Thus not only should the room is entirely split (and possibly a remaining polygon is trans-

surface be quantized as with radiosity, and not only the di- mitted without reflection). Each pyr is recursively traced and

rectional space as with ray tracing, but both of them should split again etc. It can be shown that, with continued split-

be quantized! This lead to the idea of "pyrs". ting, the shape of the pyrs does not become more and more

"cleft", i.e. does not develop more edges. (The whole pyr

tracing algorithm is summarized in Table II.)

2.2. First step: The introduction of pyrs

A pyr is a beam of polygonal cross-section originating from a Detection, i.e. the computation of immission, is finally

source point being the top of an infinite pyramid. Hence, each handled in the same way as with every beam tracing or MIS

pyr is limited by a number of edge rays and the planes be- method. During pyr tracing, an energy per cross section (or

tween those rays. A pyr may also be truncated by a plane i.e. an intensity respectively) is detected from all receiver points

the wall at which it was last reflected. According to the typi- lying within a pyr beam and summed up corresponding to

cal room acoustical point of view, assuming that wavelengths the distance from the top of the pyr, the MIS.

ACUSTlCA· acta acustica

Vol. 82 (1996) U. M. Stephenson: A Quantized Pyramidal Beam Tracing 521

/

reflected

pyr

I

i

i

\

\

,

Figure I. Mirroring of pyrs (here, two-dimensional fans, such that i

solid angle ranges of visibility are simply replaced by angularranges. ..-j-

S: source points). An example that not all combinations are possible;

here Pyrl2 does not cover wall 4 and hence is not split into a Pyrl24

--- --- \.

-,-

'

I

)

with MIS Sl24 as a source point, thus the number of MIS does not

increase exponentially but only with L~ (see Figures 2 and 7). s

diffracted pyrs

}~

E

••

.8

.[

Figure 3. Zones of reflected and diffracted pyrs at an inner wedge of a

room; a) (above) from the side; the diffracting edge is perpendicular

to the drawing plane, b) (below) from above. S: source, S': mirror

Image source.

t

}f Another approach mainly aims at an exact modelling of the

directivity of diffraction, assuming edges rather than surfaces

as the basic elements of diffraction. For that purpose, some

Figure 2. Tree of recursive pyr tracing: the degree of splitting de-

pyrs of the above-mentioned type may be emitted either from

creases with higher mirroring order to I.

some edge zones on the surfaces near edges, or from points

on the edges themselves. A more accurate, and at the same

time more efficient, model replaces the source points of pyrs

2.3. Second step; The introduction of diffraction

by source edges of finite length, (thus creating a type of

In the context of pyr tracing, different approaches to diffrac- pyr which no longer actually possesses a pyramidal shape).

tion are possible. With a typical room acoustical approach, The edge source of such a pyr is the diffracting edge or that

diffraction is considered as a special case of scattering caused fraction of an edge which was within an incident pyr. The

by "rough" surfaces (Stephenson, 1985; Naylor, 1992; Heinz, position of the previous source point of that pyr must also

1993). For that purpose, another type of pyr may be created be saved as a parameter of diffraction. In addition to the

whose source points, according to Huygens's principle, sit reflected pyr and the transmitted rest pyr, at least 3 new pyrs

on the scattering surfaces themselves instead of being be- are emitted from the diffracting edge (Figure 3a): into the

hind them. The usual 1/r2 distance law is now valid from shadow zone, into the visible zone and into the reflection

that secondary source point, to which a certain energy (or zone. All these pyrs have 4 edges, 2 from each end point of

power) was assigned according to the overlap of the scatter- the part of the diffracting edge being hit by the incident pyr.

ing surface with the incident pyr. With another, even more From Fermat's principle of shortest deviation, all the edge

simple model for the case of rough surfaces, a geometri- diffracted rays must lie on cones (Keller, 1962). Therefore,

cally constructed MIS (the pyr's source point) is randomly the 4 edge rays of these pyrs lie at the same time on cones

shifted in the outer space causing, equivalent to the model whose apertures are determined from the aperture of the

of diffuse ray reflection, a shift of the beam's direction. The incident pyr (Figure 3b), and on two planes with the same

total distance travelled from the original source to the pyr's diffraction angles. (Diffraction angles are measured around

source point ro must be saved. An appropriate number, q, of the edge relative to the plane of the incident pyr built by the

secondary pyrs is emitted. source point with the edge.)

ACUSTICA· acta acustica

522 U. M. Stephenson: A Quantized Pyramidal Beam Tracing Vol. 82 (1996)

as the reflected type of real pyramids, but they carry an-

other distance and angle law for the case of detection by

receiver points obeying the principles of edge diffraction (no

longer the simple point source law). That is, amplitudes de-

pend not only on the edge-receiver distance but also on the

source-edge distance, and the diffraction angle. For this pur-

pose, the "Geometrical Theory of Diffraction" (GTD) (Keller,

1962) may be applied, as an asymptotic high frequency so-

lution for hard or soft wedges. As an improvement which

yields, furthermore, the required smooth transitions at the

shadow and reflection boundaries (Figure 3a) a "Uniform

Theory of Diffraction" (UTD) was developed (Kouyoumjian

and Pathak, 1974). (All these approaches are described in

(Schroth and Stein, 1985).) As the GTD or the UTD yield am-

plitude functions including interference effects, these func-

tions are typically made for single frequencies and, hence,

are strongly frequency dependent, which is not very suitable

for the present purpose. Within the energy model of pyr trac-

ing made for relatively wide frequency bands, appropriate

averaged energy functions for each frequency band and for Figure 4. Quantization of pyrs with respect to position and direction:

the different zones of interference will have to be found. To grid of MIS cells around the original room. S: source, R: receiver.

account for the 'correction' due to diffraction, this implies

negative energies e.g. for the pyr diffracted into the visible

zone. This is one problem of the method. generalization of the radiosity method would not be suffi-

Another problem is how to handle double or multiple cient. Also, a (KoJo)2-matrix, in general, would burst any

diffraction. However, with pyr tracing, this is no longer an computer memory (consider Ko = Jo = 1000). On the

algorithmical problem, but only a question of approxima- other hand, if one considers the MIS model, the number of

tion. It will be reasonable to assume independent subsequent mirror image sources increases drastically, too, namely pro-

diffractions, or more accurately, edge diffraction for incident portionally to their order to the third power. However, with

spherical waves for edges which are more than a few wave- increasing distance, it becomes less important exactly where

lengths apart from each other. A similar approach based on the MIS are. Hence the quantization of the "sky of the mirror

pyramidal beams handling reflections and diffractions has image sources" (Figure 4) suggests itself.

already been published (Jaroch et ai., 1990). Each cell of the MIS space is thus described by 3 quantum

Thus another decisive advantage of the pyr concept be- numbers according to the spherical co-ordinates r, 1J, <p (i.e.

comes obvious. The possibly recursive splitting procedure r, 1J, <p are discretized). r is counted best from a receiver

due to diffraction does not differ qualitatively from the split- point in the original room rather than from the source, such

ting by specular reflection at edges. However, the above- that r is proportional to the total time delay of a reflection

mentioned efficiency of pyr tracing (diminishing splitting as noticed by the receiver. (With many receivers this is not

factors) vanishes: the number of pyrs again would explode exactly achievable for all of them at the same time; this,

(see Figure 7.) however, causes only some inefficiency, see the remark at

the beginning of section 3. In any case, pyrs are constructed

only once, not repeatedly for each receiver.) Now, any pyr's

2.4. Third step: Quantization of pyrs source point, after splitting and mirroring (see Figure I) falls

into such a MIS cell and is shifted ("rectified") to the middle

So far, the special power of the pyr concept with respect to of the cell (see Figure 4). This is the spatial quantization (or

re-unification has not yet been exploited. Therefore, a quan- discretization). However, for later sorting, and in order to

tization is needed. Having the appropriate capability of the avoid an adding of the quantization errors, an unquantized

radiosity method in mind, one might intend to introduce an value of r is retained. To achieve a finite number of MIS

additional quantization of the half space in front of each sur- cells, one might propose to quantize the radial parameter r

face patch into Jo directions, and to replace Lambert's law such that not Llr but Ll(I/r) is constant. This, however, is

by a reference to a scattering matrix in order to account also not necessary as a dynamical storage is planned. Hence, Llr

for partly geometrical reflections. However, to preserve the may be constant. Since also Ll1J and LlO = sin 1JLl1JLl<p

correct distance law, the information about the path lengths should be approximately constant, the volume of the MIS

must not be lost and the energies of "rays" having travelled cells is proportional to r2 or to the reflection order L2, hence

different distances from the source must not be mixed to- their number per reflection order is constant.

gether, but stored in different memory places. In general, a In a second step of quantization, the energy of the pyr is

time dependent solution is needed. Therefore, such a simple distributed over several new pyrs of quantized solid angle

ACUSTICA· acta acustica

Vol. 82 (1996) U. M. Stephenson: A Quantized Pyramidal Beam Tracing 523

10g(M)

_ visible MIS

construc- ,..." no. 01 pyrs

table MIS , _ L'3

: _ KoL

1

1

-- re-unification

quantized

/ pyr tracing

unquantized

pyr -~--------- Mo

filling with

energy according

to the fraction

of overlap

Figure 5. Geometry for the directional quantization of pyrs (here two- Figure 7. Comparison of different numerical methods with respect

dimensional fans); quantized pyrs of pre-defined shape are filled with to the growth of the number of energy carriers Ko= number of

sound energy according to the directional overlap with the former walls (polygons), q= splitting factor with scattering, No= number of

unquantized pyr. emitted sound particles, Mo= max. and opt. number of pyrs.

quantization with respect to source position and radiation angles

1993» specular and diffuse reflections may occur in any

-------------------- order; therefore, specular reflections (at large and smooth

walls) may also happen again after diffuse ones. This, how-

quantized

mirroring ever, will seldom be the case, as with increasing distance from

and

scattering the source reflections will become more and more diffuse,

until, within the reverberation tail, energy is interchanged

almost exclusively by diffuse reflections.

unquantized The decisive moments are now those where a pyr's top

mirroring

and falls into a MIS cell already occupied by a pyr of the same

scattering

directional range. These are the events of the desired re-

unification of pyrs to truncate the useless increase of energy

carriers and the storage need (Figures 6 and 7).

Figure 6. Above a certain reflection order, pyrs are sorted into quan-

Furthermore, re-unification will happen more frequently

tized standard beams (here symbolically columns) thus avoiding a

further exponential increase. with increasing reflection order, L, as the number of MIS

increases, as L2, whereas the number of MIS cells of same

order remains constant. However, to make use of this, an

ranges directed towards the original room (Figure 4). (The almost parallel pyr tracing is required.

term 'quantization' denotes here the crucial quantization or

discretization of solid angles rather than of energies as in

quantum physics; the' content' of a pyr, its energy, may have 3. The algorithm of quantized pyramidal beam tracing

any value.) However, the solid angles need not be computed

in most cases, as the energy per solid angle remains con- With each mirroring, the top of a pyr drifts outwards in the

stant except for the pyrs at the side where these values are MIS space. (Actually, this is only the case for image sources

interpolated according to the degree of directional overlap visible from that receiver point which is the origin of the

(Figure 5). These quantized pyrs should cover almost a con- MIS space. As an exception, the "child" of a MIS might also

stant solid angle and may be of any convenient form, e.g. come nearer to the origin but, due to the causality principle, it

triangular (subdividing the triangle surfaces of an icosahe- must be invisible from there and hence irrelevant. However,

dron (Lewers, 1993», or quadratic (subdividing a cube). Of with several receiver points, it might be visible from another

course, quantization errors such as the violation of the vis- receiver point.) Thus during parallel pyr tracing, a "cloud" of

ibility conditions for MIS must be taken into account. The occupied MIS cells drifts outwards. Its radial range is limited

same, except for the spatial quantization, is also valid for to twice the room diagonal. This makes it possible to release

the diffracted pyrs. Each pyr is completely described by the the computer storage for inner cells and use it again for newly

parameters listed in Table I. created pyrs in outer cells. This means a dynamical pyr data

ACUSTICA· acta acustica

524 U. M. Stephenson: A Quantized Pyramidal Beam Tracing Vol. 82 (1996)

repeat

in initial state:

take the original source

else

find the "oldest" pyr

loop over all walls (polygons) (:::splitting procedure)

for each wall (at least partly visible from the source):

if direct sound:

built a pyr from the source and the wall

else

test whether pyr intersects wall at least partly

if yes

project the pyr onto the wall

compute the common cross section (polygon-polygon intersection)

mirror the pyr (the rest is automatically handled)

loop over all receiver points

if point is within pyr

compute immission (if diffracted according diffraction laws)

if age rtot is greater than quantization boundary

quantize (rectify) the pyr's top position

loop over predefined quantized pyrs

find pyrs with directional overlap

sort initial pyr into quantized pyrs (inherit energy)

until age rtot exceeds given limit or pyr energy is negligible

processing but also requires parallel processing. To minimize 4. An interpretation of quantized pyramidal beam

the computational effort and to make use of the radiallimita- tracing

tion, the "oldest", i.e. most inner pyr should always be treated

first, i.e. mirrored, rectified and quantized. Then it "dies" and The secret of QPBT can be seen as a direct analogy to popu-

leaves its energy to "new born" or already "living" pyrs (the lation development. Although everybody has a tree of gener-

latter case is an event of reunification of pyr energies). The ations in the past ("parents") and a tree of generations in the

principle "oldest first" means a continuous overtaking pro- future ("children") the whole population does not necessarily

cess rather than a parallel process. In spite ofthat continuous grow exponentially. The simple reason: man must die. Disre-

"inheritance" of energy, the total number of "living", i.e. oc- garding absorption, the total heritage of the "society ofpyrs",

cupied pyrs does not exceed a given maximum (optimized i.e. the total energy, remains constant. Energy is distributed,

according to the computer memory) but only approaches it, in the beginning more regularly, with increasing reflection

varying statistically (Figure 7). order and time with increasing diffusion (entropy).

For repetition, the process of immission, i.e. computing

energy densities, echogrammes etc. with QPBT, is the same 5. Remaining problems and conclusion

as with the well known MIS method and need not be ex-

plained. The tops of the pyrs, whether quantized or not, may QPBT is an algorithm well adapted to specular reflection,

be handled as MIS, and the receivers gain energy, if lying diffraction and diffusion of sound in rooms. Although more

within the pyr. The directivity of the sources as well as of details of the algorithm have been developed than are de-

the listeners may be introduced. Room acoustical parameters scribed here, some problems of dynamical storage and ac-

may be computed in the approved way. Obviously, aural- cess of pyr data still have to be solved such as rapid access

ization is possible, too. (The time interval of pyr quantiza- according to two different keys (distance r and quantum num-

tion has nothing to do with the sampling rate.) Moreover, bers), the three-dimensional overlap of pyrs, approximations

echogrammes may be computed at the same time for differ- of multiple diffraction, the quantization of diffracted pyrs,

ent frequency bands with different degrees of diffusivity - etc .. The total algorithm is yet to be tested. With the archi-

another advantage of QPBT. Impulse responses may be de- tecture of this algorithm, problems of multiple reflection and

rived from echogrammes in the known manner, e.g. as in the diffraction of sound propagation mainly in the free field,

(Heinz, 1993). The total recursive algorithm is outlined in which have been unsolved for a long time, may possibly be

Table II. solved in reasonable computation times.

ACUSTICA· acta aeustiea

Vol. 82 (1996) U. M. Stephenson: A Quantized Pyramidal Beam Tracing 525

Acknowledgement Krokstad, A., Strom, P., and Sorsdahl, P. (1968). Calculating the

acoustical room response by the use of the ray tracing technique.

J. Sound Vib. 8, 118-125.

The idea of QPBT was developed at the Institute for Telecom-

Kuttruff, K. H. (1994). Sound decay in enclosures with non-diffuse

munications, Acoustics Group, of the Norwegian Institute of sound fields. Proc. WC.Sabine Centennial Symposium, Cam-

Technology (NTH), Trondheim in 1992. The author grate- bridge, Mass. (USA), 1pAAa3.

fully acknowledges funding from the Norwegian Research Lee, H. and Lee, B.-H. (1988). An efficient algorithm for the image

Council for this study. The author is indebted for support and model technique. Appl. Acoustics 24,87-115.

Lewers, T. (1993). A combined beam tracing and radiant exchange

many fruitful discussions to Professor U. R. Kristiansen and computer model of room acoustics. Appl. Acoustics 38, 161-178.

Professor A. Krokstad (NTH), to K. NaBhan (IBP) and, last Naylor, G. (1992). Treatment of early and late reflections in a hybrid

but not least, Professor H. Kuttruff (Institute for Technical computer model for room acoustics. Proc. of 124th ASA" New

Acoustics, Aachen) - at whose institute the author's work on Orleans, 3aAAZ.

Schroth, A. and Stein, V. (1985). Moderne numerische Verfahren

sound particles began 15 years ago (Stephenson, 1985). zur Losung von Antennen- und Streuproblemen. Oldenburg,

Mtinchen/Wien.

Stephenson, U. M. (1985). Eine Schallteilchen-Computer-

References Simulation zur Berechnung der fUr die Horsamkeit in Konz-

ertsalen maBgebenden Parameter. Acustica 59, 1-20.

Borish, J. (1984). Extension of the image model to arbitrary poly- Stephenson, U. M. (1990a). Comparison of the mirror image source

hedra. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 75, 1827~ 1836. method and the sound particle simulation method. Appl. Acoustics

Forsberg, P.-A. (1985). Fully discrete ray tracing. Appl. Acoustics 29,35-72.

18,393-397. Stephenson, U. M. (I 990b). Room acoustical design of concert

Heinz, R. (1993). Binaural room simulation based on an image halls: Some recent improvements on the sound particle simulation

source model with addition of statistical methods to include the technique. 29th Conference on Acoustics, Strebske Pleso, High

diffuse sound scattering of walls and to predict the reverberant Tatra, 259-264.

tail. Appl. Acoustics 38, 145-159. Stephenson, U. M. (1992). Diffraction algorithms for ray tracing -

Jaroch, A., Jurkiewicz, J., and Rudno-Rudzinska, B. (1990). A ge- discussion of some approaches. Proc. International Congress on

ometrical analysis of reflected-diffracted sound rays in three di- Acoustics (ICA), Beijing (China), F2~9.

mensional space. Proc. INTERNOISE '90, Gothenburg, Sweden, Stephenson, U. M. (1993). Ein neuer Ansatz zur Schallteilchenbeu-

239-242. gung. Fortschritte der Akustik, DAGA 1993, DPG GmbH, Bad

Keller, J. B. (1962). Geometrical theory of diffraction. J. Opt. Soc. Honnef, 235~238.

Am. 52, 116-130. Vian, J. P. and v. Maercke, D. (1986). Calculation of the room

Kouyoumjian, R. G. and Pathak,P. H. (1974). A uniform geometrical impulse response using a ray tracing method. Proc. ICA (Sympo-

theory of diffraction for an edge in a perfectly conducting surface. sium on Acoustics and Theatre Planningfor the Performing Arts),

Proc. IEEE 62,1448-1461. Vancouver, Canada, 74~78.

Kristiansen, U. R., Krokstad, A., and Follestad, T. (1993). Extending Vorlagnder, M. (1989). Simulation of the transient and steady-state

the image method to higher-order reflections. Appl. Acoustics 38, sound propagation in rooms using a new combined ray-tracing

195-202. image source algorithm. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 86, 172-178.

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