Nonlinear water waves and signal analysis

Study level


Master of Philosophy


Vacation research experience scheme

Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.


Professor Scott McCue
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Professor Timothy Moroney
Professor in Mathematics
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty


When a ship moves through water, it generates waves. These waves propagate through the medium and their effect can be detected many kilometres away from the initial disturbance.

Supposing that a sensor is placed in the water which can measure the height of the free surface at a single point over time, somewhere close to the shore perhaps, it is of considerable interest to know how much information about the disturbance can be recovered from that signal, such as the size, shape and speed of the ship.

This information could be used to ascertain, for example, the likely source of damaging waves encountered on the shore.

Research activities

In this project you will be involved in one or more complementary approaches in understanding and analysing the surface height signal, depending on the project's duration and your background and interests:

  • mathematical and computational modelling of nonlinear water waves
  • linear and nonlinear signal processing
  • spectrograms
  • wavelets
  • machine learning.


We expect to unveil new insights and understanding as part of this project. We also intend to create software and publish research articles.

Skills and experience

As part of the project we require you to have experience in computational methods in MATLAB.

It would be desirable if your have a background in partial differential equations, fourier transforms and signal processing.


You may be able to apply for a research scholarship in our annual scholarship round.

Annual scholarship round



Contact the supervisor for more information.