Linear Feedback Shift Registers for the Uninitiated, Part XVI: Reed-Solomon Error Correction

Jason Sachs June 19, 2018

Last time, we talked about error correction and detection, covering some basics like Hamming distance, CRCs, and Hamming codes. If you are new to this topic, I would strongly suggest going back to read that article before this one.

This time we are going to cover Reed-Solomon codes. (I had meant to cover this topic in Part XV, but the article was getting to be too long, so I’ve split it roughly in half.) These are one of the workhorses of error-correction, and they are used in...

Linear Feedback Shift Registers for the Uninitiated, Part XV: Error Detection and Correction

Jason Sachs June 12, 2018

Last time, we talked about Gold codes, a specially-constructed set of pseudorandom bit sequences (PRBS) with low mutual cross-correlation, which are used in many spread-spectrum communications systems, including the Global Positioning System.

This time we are wading into the field of error detection and correction, in particular CRCs and Hamming codes.

Ernie, You Have a Banana in Your Ear

I have had a really really tough time writing this article. I like the...

Who else is going to Sensors Expo in San Jose? Looking for roommate(s)!

Stephane Boucher May 29, 20186 comments

This will be my first time attending this show and I must say that I am excited. I am bringing with me my cameras and other video equipment with the intention to capture as much footage as possible and produce a (hopefully) fun to watch 'highlights' video. I will also try to film as many demos as possible and share them with you.

I enjoy going to shows like this one as it gives me the opportunity to get out of my home-office (from where I manage and run the *Related sites) and actually...

Digital PLL’s, Part 3 – Phase Lock an NCO to an External Clock

Neil Robertson May 27, 201831 comments

Sometimes you may need to phase-lock a numerically controlled oscillator (NCO) to an external clock that is not related to the system clocks of your ASIC or FPGA.  This situation is shown in Figure 1.  Assuming your system has an analog-to-digital converter (ADC) available, you can sync to the external clock using the scheme shown in Figure 2.  This time-domain PLL model is similar to the one presented in Part 1 of this series on digital PLL’s [1].  In that PLL, we...

Project introduction: Digital Filter Blocks in MyHDL and their integration in pyFDA

Sriyash Caculo May 25, 20184 comments

Hi everyone! After a lot of hesitation and several failed attempts, I have finally entered the world of blogging. A little about myself : My name is Sriyash Caculo and I’m a third year undergrad student at BITS Pilani K.K. Birla Goa Campus  pursuing a major in Electronics and Instrumentation engineering. Being an electronics engineer, I developed an interest in Digital Signal Processing and its implementation on hardware.

This blog-post is the first of many to come for the...

Two Easy Ways To Test Multistage CIC Decimation Filters

Rick Lyons May 22, 20182 comments

This blog presents two very easy ways to test the performance of multistage cascaded integrator-comb (CIC) decimation filters [1]. Anyone implementing CIC filters should take note of the following proposed CIC filter test methods.


Figure 1 presents a multistage decimate by D CIC filter where the number of stages is S = 3. The '↓D' operation represents downsampling by integer D (discard all but every Dth sample), n is the input time index, and m is the output time index.

ADC Clock Jitter Model, Part 2 – Random Jitter

Neil Robertson April 22, 20189 comments

In Part 1, I presented a Matlab function to model an ADC with jitter on the sample clock, and applied it to examples with deterministic jitter.  Now we’ll investigate an ADC with random clock jitter, by using a filtered or unfiltered Gaussian sequence as the jitter source.  What we are calling jitter can also be called time jitter, phase jitter, or phase noise.  It’s all the same phenomenon.  Typically, we call it jitter when we have a time-domain representation,...

Take Control of Noise with Spectral Averaging

Sam Shearman April 20, 20183 comments

Most engineers have seen the moment-to-moment fluctuations that are common with instantaneous measurements of a supposedly steady spectrum. You can see these fluctuations in magnitude and phase for each frequency bin of your spectrogram. Although major variations are certainly reason for concern, recall that we don’t live in an ideal, noise-free world. After verifying the integrity of your measurement setup by checking connections, sensors, wiring, and the like, you might conclude that the...

Linear Feedback Shift Registers for the Uninitiated, Part XIV: Gold Codes

Jason Sachs April 18, 2018

Last time we looked at some techniques using LFSR output for system identification, making use of the peculiar autocorrelation properties of pseudorandom bit sequences (PRBS) derived from an LFSR.

This time we’re going to jump back to the field of communications, to look at an invention called Gold codes and why a single maximum-length PRBS isn’t enough to save the world using spread-spectrum technology. We have to cover two little side discussions before we can get into Gold...

FFT Interpolation Based on FFT Samples: A Detective Story With a Surprise Ending

Rick Lyons April 16, 201841 comments

This blog presents several interesting things I recently learned regarding the estimation of a spectral value located at a frequency lying between previously computed FFT spectral samples. My curiosity about this FFT interpolation process was triggered by reading a spectrum analysis paper written by three astronomers [1].

My fixation on one equation in that paper led to the creation of this blog.


The notion of FFT interpolation is straightforward to describe. That is, for example,...

Correcting an Important Goertzel Filter Misconception

Rick Lyons July 6, 201517 comments

Recently I was on the Signal Processing Stack Exchange web site (a question and answer site for DSP people) and I read a posted question regarding Goertzel filters [1]. One of the subscribers posted a reply to the question by pointing interested readers to a Wikipedia web page discussing Goertzel filters [2]. I noticed the Wiki web site stated that a Goertzel filter:

"...is marginally stable and vulnerable tonumerical error accumulation when computed usinglow-precision arithmetic and...

A Simple Complex Down-conversion Scheme

Rick Lyons January 21, 20087 comments
Recently I was experimenting with complex down-conversion schemes. That is, generating an analytic (complex) version, centered at zero Hz, of a real bandpass signal that was originally centered at ±fs/4 (one fourth the sample rate). I managed to obtain one such scheme that is computationally efficient, and it might be of some mild interest to you guys. The simple complex down-conversion scheme is shown in Figure 1(a).

It works like this: say we have a real xR(n) input bandpass...

Went 280km/h (174mph) in a Porsche Panamera in Germany!

Stephane Boucher July 10, 201712 comments

Those of you who've been following my blog lately already know that I am going through some sort of mid-life crisis that involves going out there to meet people and make videos.  It all started with Embedded World early this year, then continued at ESC Boston a couple of months ago and the latest chapter just concluded as I returned from Germany after spending a week at SEGGER's headquarters to produce a video to highlight their 25th anniversary.  

Canonic Signed Digit (CSD) Representation of Integers

Neil Robertson February 18, 2017

In my last post I presented Matlab code to synthesize multiplierless FIR filters using Canonic Signed Digit (CSD) coefficients.  I included a function dec2csd1.m (repeated here in Appendix A) to convert decimal integers to binary CSD values.  Here I want to use that function to illustrate a few properties of CSD numbers.

In a binary signed-digit number system, we allow each binary digit to have one of the three values {0, 1, -1}.  Thus, for example, the binary value 1 1...

Angle Addition Formulas from Euler's Formula

Cedron Dawg March 16, 20199 comments

This is an article to hopefully give a better understanding of the Discrete Fourier Transform (DFT), but only indirectly. The main intent is to get someone who is uncomfortable with complex numbers a little more used to them and relate them back to already known Trigonometric relationships done in Real values. It is essentially a followup to my first blog article "The Exponential Nature of the Complex Unit Circle".

Polar Coordinates

The more common way of...

Half-band filter on Xilinx FPGA

Lyons Zhang November 30, 20105 comments
1. DSP48 Slice in Xilinx FPGA

There are many DSP48 Slices in most Xilinx® FPGAs, one DSP48 slice in Spartan6® FPGA is shown in Figure 1, the structure may different depending on the device, but broadly similar.

Figure 1: A whole DSP48A1 Slice in Spartan6 (www.xilinx.com)

2. Symmetric Systolic Half-band FIR

Figure 2: Symmetric Systolic Half-band FIR Filter

3. Two-channel Symmetric Systolic Half-band FIR

  Figure 3: 2-Channel...

Amplitude modulation and the sampling theorem

Allen Downey December 18, 20156 comments

I am working on the 11th and probably final chapter of Think DSP, which follows material my colleague Siddhartan Govindasamy developed for a class at Olin College.  He introduces amplitude modulation as a clever way to sneak up on the Nyquist–Shannon sampling theorem.

Most of the code for the chapter is done: you can check it out in this IPython notebook.  I haven't written the text yet, but I'll outline it here, and paste in the key figures.


Compute the Frequency Response of a Multistage Decimator

Neil Robertson February 10, 20192 comments

Figure 1a shows the block diagram of a decimation-by-8 filter, consisting of a low-pass finite impulse response (FIR) filter followed by downsampling by 8 [1].  A more efficient version is shown in Figure 1b, which uses three cascaded decimate-by-two filters.  This implementation has the advantages that only FIR 1 is sampled at the highest sample rate, and the total number of filter taps is lower.

The frequency response of the single-stage decimator before downsampling is just...

Demonstrating the Periodic Spectrum of a Sampled Signal Using the DFT

Neil Robertson March 9, 201920 comments

One of the basic DSP principles states that a sampled time signal has a periodic spectrum with period equal to the sample rate.  The derivation of can be found in textbooks [1,2].  You can also demonstrate this principle numerically using the Discrete Fourier Transform (DFT).

The DFT of the sampled signal x(n) is defined as:

$$X(k)=\sum_{n=0}^{N-1}x(n)e^{-j2\pi kn/N} \qquad (1)$$


X(k) = discrete frequency spectrum of time sequence x(n)

Compute Modulation Error Ratio (MER) for QAM

Neil Robertson November 5, 20192 comments

This post defines the Modulation Error Ratio (MER) for QAM signals, and shows how to compute it.  As we’ll see, in the absence of impairments other than noise, the MER tracks the signal’s Carrier-to-Noise Ratio (over a limited range).  A Matlab script at the end of the PDF version of this post computes MER for a simplified QAM-64 system.

Figure 1 is a simplified block diagram of a QAM system.  The transmitter includes a source of QAM symbols, a root-Nyquist...