Linear Feedback Shift Registers for the Uninitiated, Part XII: Spread-Spectrum Fundamentals

Jason Sachs December 29, 20171 comment

Last time we looked at the use of LFSRs for pseudorandom number generation, or PRNG, and saw two things:

  • the use of LFSR state for PRNG has undesirable serial correlation and frequency-domain properties
  • the use of single bits of LFSR output has good frequency-domain properties, and its autocorrelation values are so close to zero that they are actually better than a statistically random bit stream

The unusually-good correlation properties...

An Efficient Linear Interpolation Scheme

Rick Lyons December 27, 201725 comments

This blog presents a computationally-efficient linear interpolation trick that requires at most one multiply per output sample.

Background: Linear Interpolation

Looking at Figure 1(a) let's assume we have two points, [x(0),y(0)] and [x(1),y(1)], and we want to compute the value y, on the line joining those two points, associated with the value x. 

       Figure 1: Linear interpolation: given x, x(0), x(1), y(0), and y(1), compute the value of y. ...

An Alternative Form of the Pure Real Tone DFT Bin Value Formula

Cedron Dawg December 17, 2017

This is an article to hopefully give a better understanding of the Discrete Fourier Transform (DFT) by deriving alternative exact formulas for the bin values of a real tone in a DFT. The derivation of the source equations can be found in my earlier blog article titled "DFT Bin Value Formulas for Pure Real Tones"[1]. The new form is slighty more complicated and calculation intensive, but it is more computationally accurate in the vicinity of near integer frequencies. This...

Design IIR Butterworth Filters Using 12 Lines of Code

Neil Robertson December 10, 201712 comments

While there are plenty of canned functions to design Butterworth IIR filters [1], it’s instructive and not that complicated to design them from scratch.  You can do it in 12 lines of Matlab code.  In this article, we’ll create a Matlab function butter_synth.m to design lowpass Butterworth filters of any order.  Here is an example function call for a 5th order filter:

N= 5 % Filter order fc= 10; % Hz cutoff freq fs= 100; % Hz sample freq [b,a]=...

Feedback Controllers - Making Hardware with Firmware. Part 6. Self-Calibration Related.

Steve Maslen December 3, 20177 comments

This article will consider the engineering of a self-calibration & self-test capability to enable the project hardware to be configured and its basic performance evaluated and verified, ready for the development of the low-latency controller DSP firmware and closed-loop applications. Performance specifications will be documented in due course, on the project website here.

  • Part 6: Self-Calibration, Measurements and Signalling (this part)
  • Part 5:

Simplest Calculation of Half-band Filter Coefficients

Neil Robertson November 20, 20179 comments

Half-band filters are lowpass FIR filters with cut-off frequency of one-quarter of sampling frequency fs and odd symmetry about fs/4  [1]*.  And it so happens that almost half of the coefficients are zero.  The passband and stopband bandwiths are equal, making these filters useful for decimation-by-2 and interpolation-by-2.  Since the zero coefficients make them computationally efficient, these filters are ubiquitous in DSP systems.

Here we will compute half-band...

Feedback Controllers - Making Hardware with Firmware. Part 5. Some FPGA Aspects.

Steve Maslen November 14, 2017
This part of the on-going series of articles looks at a variety of aspects concerning the FPGA device which provides the high-speed maths capability for the low-latency controller and the arbitrary circuit generator application. In due course a complete specification along with  application  examples will be maintained on the project website here.

Improved Three Bin Exact Frequency Formula for a Pure Real Tone in a DFT

Cedron Dawg November 6, 2017

This is an article to hopefully give a better understanding of the Discrete Fourier Transform (DFT) by extending the exact two bin formulas for the frequency of a real tone in a DFT to the three bin case. This article is a direct extension of my prior article "Two Bin Exact Frequency Formulas for a Pure Real Tone in a DFT"[1]. The formulas derived in the previous article are also presented in this article in the computational order, rather than the indirect order they were...

There's No End to It -- Matlab Code Plots Frequency Response above the Unit Circle

Neil Robertson October 23, 20179 comments
Reference [1] has some 3D plots of frequency response magnitude above the unit circle in the Z-plane.  I liked them enough that I wrote a Matlab function to plot the response of any digital filter this way.  I’m not sure how useful these plots are, but they’re fun to look at. The Matlab code is listed in the Appendix. 

This post is available in PDF format for easy...

There and Back Again: Time of Flight Ranging between Two Wireless Nodes

Qasim Chaudhari October 23, 20175 comments

With the growth in the Internet of Things (IoT) products, the number of applications requiring an estimate of range between two wireless nodes in indoor channels is growing very quickly as well. Therefore, localization is becoming a red hot market today and will remain so in the coming years.

One question that is perplexing is that many companies now a days are offering cm level accurate solutions using RF signals. The conventional wireless nodes usually implement synchronization...

Feedback Controllers - Making Hardware with Firmware. Part 10. DSP/FPGAs Behaving Irrationally

Steve Maslen November 22, 2018

This article will look at a design approach for feedback controllers featuring  low-latency "irrational" characteristics to enable the creation of physical components such as transmission lines. Some thought will also be given as to the capabilities of the currently utilized Intel Cyclone V, the new Cyclone 10 GX and the upcoming Xilinx Versal floating-point FPGAs/ACAPs.    

Fig 1. Making a Transmission Line, with the Circuit Emulator



Some Observations on Comparing Efficiency in Communication Systems

Eric Jacobsen March 17, 2011

Engineering is usually about managing efficiencies of one sort or another. One of my favorite working definitions of an engineer says, "An engineer is somebody who can do for a nickel what any damn fool can do for a dollar." In that case, the implication is that the cost is one of the characteristics being optimized. But cost isn't always the main efficiency metric, or at least the only one. Consider how a common transportation appliance, the automobile, is optimized...

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 (

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...

Multiplying Two Binary Numbers

Rick Lyons March 16, 20117 comments

I just encountered what I think is an interesting technique for multiplying two integer numbers. Perhaps some of the readers here will also find it interesting.

Here's the technique: assume we want to multiply 18 times 17. We start by writing 18 and 17, side-by-side in column A and column B, as shown at the top of Figure 1. Next we divide the 18 at the top of column A by two, retaining only the integer part of the division, and double the 17 at the top of column B. The results of those two...

Two jobs

Stephane Boucher December 5, 201223 comments

For those of you following closely embeddedrelated and the other related sites, you might have noticed that I have been less active for the last couple of months, and I will use this blog post to explain why. The main reason is that I got myself involved into a project that ended up using a better part of my cpu than I originally thought it would.

edit - video of the event:

I currently have two jobs: one as an electrical/dsp engineer recycled as a web publisher and the other...

An Astounding Digital Filter Design Application

Rick Lyons July 7, 201613 comments

I've recently encountered a digital filter design application that astonished me with its design flexibility, capability, and ease of use. The software is called the "ASN Filter Designer." After experimenting with a demo version of this filter design software I was so impressed that I simply had publicize it to the subscribers here on

What I Liked About the ASN Filter Designer

With typical filter design software packages the user enters numerical values for the...

Frequency Translation by Way of Lowpass FIR Filtering

Rick Lyons February 4, 20175 comments

Some weeks ago a question appeared on the dsp.related Forum regarding the notion of translating a signal down in frequency and lowpass filtering in a single operation [1]. It is possible to implement such a process by embedding a discrete cosine sequence's values within the coefficients of a traditional lowpass FIR filter. I first learned about this process from Reference [2]. Here's the story.

Traditional Frequency Translation Prior To Filtering

Think about the process shown in...

Benford's law solved with DSP

Steve Smith February 22, 20087 comments

I have a longtime interest in the mystery of 1/f noise. A few years ago I came across Benford’s law, another puzzle that seemed to have many of the same characteristics.

Suppose you collect a large group of seemingly random numbers, such as might appear in a newspaper or financial report. Benford’s law relates to the leading digit of each number, such as "4" in 4.268, "3" in 0.0312, and "9" in -932.34. Since there are nine possible leading digits...

Time-Domain Periodicity and the Discrete Fourier Transform

Eric Jacobsen July 13, 2012


The Discrete Fourier Transform (DFT) and it's fast-algorithm implementation, the Fast Fourier Transform (FFT), are fundamental tools for processing and analysis of digital signals. While the continuous Fourier Transform and its inverse integrate over all time from minus infinity to plus infinity, and all frequencies from minus infinity to plus infinity, practical application of its discrete cousins can only be made over finite time and frequency intervals. The discrete nature...

Design study: 1:64 interpolating pulse shaping FIR

Markus Nentwig December 26, 20115 comments

This article is the documentation to a code snippet that originated from a discussion on comp.dsp.

The task is to design a root-raised cosine filter with a rolloff of a=0.15 that interpolates to 64x the symbol rate at the input.

The code snippet shows a solution that is relatively straightforward to design and achieves reasonably good efficiency using only FIR filters.

Motivation: “simple solutions?”