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

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.

## Looking For a Second Toolbox? This One's For Sale

In case you're looking for a second toolbox, this used toolbox is for sale.The blue-enameled steel toolbox measures 13 x 7 x 5 inches and, when opened, has a three-section tray attached to the lid. Showing signs of heavy use, the interior, tray, and exterior have collected a fair amount of dirt and grease and bear many scratches. The bottom of the box is worn from having been slid on rough surfaces.

The toolbox currently resides in Italy. But don't worry, it can be shipped to you....

## Embedded Toolbox: Programmer's Calculator

Like any craftsman, I have accumulated quite a few tools during my embedded software development career. Some of them proved to me more useful than others. And these generally useful tools ended up in my Embedded Toolbox. In this blog, I'd like to share some of my tools with you. Today, I'd like to start with my cross-platform Programmer's Calculator called QCalc.

I'm sure that you already have your favorite calculator online or on your smartphone. But can your calculator accept...

## Ten Little Algorithms, Part 6: Green’s Theorem and Swept-Area Detection

Other articles in this series:

- Part 1: Russian Peasant Multiplication
- Part 2: The Single-Pole Low-Pass Filter
- Part 3: Welford's Method (And Friends)
- Part 4: Topological Sort
- Part 5: Quadratic Extremum Interpolation and Chandrupatla's Method

This article is mainly an excuse to scribble down some cryptic-looking mathematics — Don’t panic! Close your eyes and scroll down if you feel nauseous — and...

## Going back to Germany!

A couple of blog posts ago, I wrote that the decision to go to ESC Boston ended up being a great one for many different reasons. I came back from the conference energized and really happy that I went.

These feelings were amplified a few days after my return when I received an email from Rolf Segger, the founder of SEGGER Microcontroller (check out their very new website), asking if I would be interested in visiting their headquarters...

## Exact Near Instantaneous Frequency Formulas Best at Peaks (Part 2)

IntroductionThis is an article that is a continuation of a digression from trying to give a better understanding of the Discrete Fourier Transform (DFT). It is recommended that my previous article "Exact Near Instantaneous Frequency Formulas Best at Peaks (Part 1)"[1] be read first as many sections of this article are directly dependent upon it.

A second family of formulas for calculating the frequency of a single pure tone in a short interval in the time domain is presented. It...

## Modeling a Continuous-Time System with Matlab

Many of us are familiar with modeling a continuous-time system in the frequency domain using its transfer function H(s) or H(jω). However, finding the time response can be challenging, and traditionally involves finding the inverse Laplace transform of H(s). An alternative way to get both time and frequency responses is to transform H(s) to a discrete-time system H(z) using the impulse-invariant transform [1,2]. This method provides an exact match to the continuous-time...

## ESC Boston's Videos are Now Up

In my last blog, I told you about my experience at ESC Boston and the few videos that I was planning to produce and publish. Here they are, please have a look and any feedback (positive or negative) is appreciated.

Short HighlightThis is a very short (one minute) montage of some of the footage that I shot at the show & conference. In future shows, I absolutely need to insert clips here and there of engineers saying a few words about the conference (why they...

## How to Find a Fast Floating-Point atan2 Approximation

Context Over a short period of time, I came across nearly identical approximations of the two parameter arctangent function, atan2, developed by different companies, in different countries, and even in different decades. Fascinated with how the coefficients used in these approximations were derived, I set out to find them. This atan2 implementation is based around a rational approximation of arctangent on the domain -1 to 1:$$ atan(z) \approx \dfrac{z}{1.0 +...

## Exact Near Instantaneous Frequency Formulas Best at Peaks (Part 1)

IntroductionThis is an article that is a another digression from trying to give a better understanding of the Discrete Fourier Transform (DFT). Although it is not as far off as the last blog article.

A new family of formulas for calculating the frequency of a single pure tone in a short interval in the time domain is presented. They are a generalization of Equation (1) from Rick Lyons' recent blog article titled "Sinusoidal Frequency Estimation Based on Time-Domain Samples"[1]. ...

## Some Observations on Comparing Efficiency in Communication Systems

IntroductionEngineering 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...

## A Fast Real-Time Trapezoidal Rule Integrator

This blog presents a computationally-efficient network for computing real‑time discrete integration using the Trapezoidal Rule.

Background

While studying what is called "N-sample Romberg integration" I noticed that such an integration process requires the computation of many individual smaller‑sized integrations using the Trapezoidal Rule integration method [1]. My goal was to create a computationally‑fast real‑time Trapezoidal Rule integration network to increase the processing...

## Recruiting New Bloggers!

Previous calls for bloggers have been very successful in recruiting some great communicators - Rick Lyons, Jason Sachs, Victor Yurkovsky, Mike Silva, Markus Nentwig, Gene Breniman, Stephen Friederichs,

## Is It True That *j* is Equal to the Square Root of -1 ?

A few days ago, on the YouTube.com web site, I watched an interesting video concerning complex numbers and the j operator. The video's author claimed that the statement "j is equal to the square root of negative one" is incorrect. What he said was:

He justified his claim by going through the following exercise, starting with:

Based on the algebraic identity:

the author rewrites Eq. (1) as:

If we assume

Eq. (3) can be rewritten...

## A New Contender in the Digital Differentiator Race

This blog proposes a novel differentiator worth your consideration. Although simple, the differentiator provides a fairly wide 'frequency range of linear operation' and can be implemented, if need be, without performing numerical multiplications.

BackgroundIn reference [1] I presented a computationally-efficient tapped-delay line digital differentiator whose $h_{ref}(k)$ impulse response is:

$$ h_{ref}(k) = {-1/16}, \ 0, \ 1, \ 0, \ {-1}, \ 0, \ 1/16 \tag{1} $$and...

## Model Signal Impairments at Complex Baseband

In this article, we develop complex-baseband models for several signal impairments: interfering carrier, multipath, phase noise, and Gaussian noise. To provide concrete examples, we’ll apply the impairments to a QAM system. The impairment models are Matlab functions that each use at most seven lines of code. Although our example system is QAM, the models can be used for any complex-baseband signal.

I used a very simple complex-baseband model of a QAM system in my last

## Exponential Smoothing with a Wrinkle

IntroductionThis is an article to hopefully give a better understanding to the Discrete Fourier Transform (DFT) by providing a set of preprocessing filters to improve the resolution of the DFT. Because of the exponential nature of sinusoidal functions, they have special mathematical properties when exponential smoothing is applied to them. These properties are derived and explained in this blog article.

Basic Exponential Smoothing

Exponential smoothing is also known as...

## Beat Notes: An Interesting Observation

Some weeks ago a friend of mine, a long time radio engineer as well as a piano player, called and asked me,

"When I travel in a DC-9 aircraft, and I sit back near the engines, I hear this fairly loud unpleasant whump whump whump whump sound. The frequency of that sound is, maybe, two cycles per second. I think that sound is a beat frequency because the DC-9's engines are turning at a slightly different number of revolutions per second. My question is, what sort of mechanism in the airplane...

## Data Types for Control & DSP

There's a lot of information out there on what data types to use for digital signal processing, but there's also a lot of confusion, so the topic bears repeating.

I recently posted an entry on PID control. In that article I glossed over the data types used by showing "double" in all of my example code. Numerically, this should work for most control problems, but it can be an extravagant use of processor resources. There ought to be a better way to determine what precision you need...

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

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...

## A Recipe for a Common Logarithm Table

IntroductionThis is an article that is a digression from trying to give a better understanding to the Discrete Fourier Transform (DFT).

A method for building a table of Base 10 Logarithms, also known as Common Logarithms, is featured using math that can be done with paper and pencil. The reader is assumed to have some familiarity with logarithm functions. This material has no dependency on the material in my previous blog articles.

If you were ever curious about how...

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

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...

## ADC Clock Jitter Model, Part 2 – Random Jitter

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,...

## DFT Bin Value Formulas for Pure Real Tones

IntroductionThis is an article to hopefully give a better understanding to the Discrete Fourier Transform (DFT) by deriving an analytical formula for the DFT of pure real tones. The formula is used to explain the well known properties of the DFT. A sample program is included, with its output, to numerically demonstrate the veracity of the formula. This article builds on the ideas developed in my previous two blog articles:

## Embedded World 2018 - More Videos!

After the interview videos last week, this week I am very happy to release two more videos taken at Embedded World 2018 and that I am proud of.

For both videos, I made extensive use of my two new toys, a Zhiyun Crane Gimbal and a Sony a6300 camera.

The use of a gimbal like the Zhiyun makes a big difference in terms of making the footage look much more stable and cinematographic.

As for the Sony camera, it takes fantastic slow-motion footage and...

## Errata for the book: 'Understanding Digital Signal Processing'

Errata 3rd Ed. International Version.pdfErrata 3rd Ed. International Version.pdfThis blog post provides, in one place, the errata for each of the many different Editions/Printings of my book Understanding Digital Signal Processing.

If you would like the errata for your copy of the book, merely scroll down and click on the appropriate red line below. For the American versions of the various Editions of the book you'll need to know the "Printing Number" of your copy of the...

## An Efficient Lowpass Filter in Octave

This article describes an efficient linear-phase lowpass FIR filter, coded using the Octave programming language. The intention is to focus on the implementation in software, but references are provided for those who wish to undertake further study of interpolated FIR filters [1]- [3].

The input signal is processed as a vector of samples (eg from a .wav file), which are converted to a matrix format. The complete filter is thus referred to as a Matrix IFIR or...

## How Not to Reduce DFT Leakage

This blog describes a technique to reduce the effects of spectral leakage when using the discrete Fourier transform (DFT).

In late April 2012 there was a thread on the comp.dsp newsgroup discussing ways to reduce the spectral leakage problem encountered when using the DFT. One post in that thread caught my eye [1]. That post referred to a website presenting a paper describing a DFT leakage method that I'd never heard of before [2]. (Of course, not that I've heard...

## Linear Feedback Shift Registers for the Uninitiated, Part XIII: System Identification

Last time we looked at spread-spectrum techniques using the output bit sequence of an LFSR as a pseudorandom bit sequence (PRBS). The main benefit we explored was increasing signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) relative to other disturbance signals in a communication system.

This time we’re going to use a PRBS from LFSR output to do something completely different: system identification. We’ll show two different methods of active system identification, one using sine waves and the other...

## Matlab Code to Synthesize Multiplierless FIR Filters

This article presents Matlab code to synthesize multiplierless Finite Impulse Response (FIR) lowpass filters.

A filter coefficient can be represented as a sum of powers of 2. For example, if a coefficient = decimal 5 multiplies input x, the output is $y= 2^2*x + 2^0*x$. The factor of $2^2$ is then implemented with a shift of 2 bits. This method is not efficient for coefficients having a lot of 1’s, e.g. decimal 31 = 11111. To reduce the number of non-zero...