The Swiss Army Knife of Digital Networks

Rick Lyons June 13, 20168 comments

This blog describes a general discrete-signal network that appears, in various forms, inside so many DSP applications. 

Figure 1 shows how the network's structure has the distinct look of a digital filter—a comb filter followed by a 2nd-order recursive network. However, I do not call this useful network a filter because its capabilities extend far beyond simple filtering. Through a series of examples I've illustrated the fundamental strength of this Swiss Army Knife of digital networks...

Digital PLL's -- Part 1

Neil Robertson June 7, 201622 comments
1. Introduction

Figure 1.1 is a block diagram of a digital PLL (DPLL).  The purpose of the DPLL is to lock the phase of a numerically controlled oscillator (NCO) to a reference signal.  The loop includes a phase detector to compute phase error and a loop filter to set loop dynamic performance.  The output of the loop filter controls the frequency and phase of the NCO, driving the phase error to zero.

One application of the DPLL is to recover the timing in a digital...

Peak to Average Power Ratio and CCDF

Neil Robertson May 17, 20164 comments

Peak to Average Power Ratio (PAPR) is often used to characterize digitally modulated signals.  One example application is setting the level of the signal in a digital modulator.  Knowing PAPR allows setting the average power to a level that is just low enough to minimize clipping.

However, for a random signal, PAPR is a statistical quantity.  We have to ask, what is the probability of a given peak power?  Then we can decide where to set the average...

Filter a Rectangular Pulse with no Ringing

Neil Robertson May 12, 201610 comments

To filter a rectangular pulse without any ringing, there is only one requirement on the filter coefficients:  they must all be positive.  However, if we want the leading and trailing edge of the pulse to be symmetrical, then the coefficients must be symmetrical.  What we are describing is basically a window function.

Consider a rectangular pulse 32 samples long with fs = 1 kHz.  Here is the Matlab code to generate the pulse:

N= 64; fs= 1000; % Hz sample...

Data Types for Control & DSP

Tim Wescott April 26, 20166 comments

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...

PID Without a PhD

Tim Wescott April 26, 201612 comments

I both consult and teach in the area of digital control. Through both of these efforts, I have found that while there certainly are control problems that require all the expertise I can bring to bear, there are a great number of control problems that can be solved with the most basic knowledge of simple controllers, without resort to any formal control theory at all.

This article will tell you how to implement a simple controller in software and how to tune it without getting into heavy...

Digital Envelope Detection: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Rick Lyons April 3, 201620 comments

Recently I've been thinking about the process of envelope detection. Tutorial information on this topic is readily available but that information is spread out over a number of DSP textbooks and many Internet web sites. The purpose of this blog is to summarize various digital envelope detection methods in one place.

Here I focus on envelope detection as it is applied to an amplitude-fluctuating sinusoidal signal where the positive-amplitude fluctuations (the sinusoid's envelope)...

Harmonic Notch Filter

Mike March 28, 201615 comments

My basement is covered with power lines and florescent lights which makes collecting ECG and EEG data  rather difficult due to the 60 cycle hum.  I found the following notch filter to work very well at eliminating the background signal without effecting the highly amplified signals I was looking for. 

The notch filter is based on the a transfer function with the form $$H(z)=\frac{1}{2}(1+A(z))$$ where A(z) is an all pass filter. The original paper [1] describes a method to...

A Useful Source of Signal Processing Information

Rick Lyons March 23, 20168 comments

I just discovered a useful web-based source of signal processing information that was new to me. I thought I'd share what I learned with the subscribers here on

The Home page of the web site that I found doesn't look at all like it would be useful to us DSP fanatics. But if you enter some signal processing topic of interest, say, "FM demodulation" (without the quotation marks) into the 'Search' box at the top of the web page

and click the red 'SEARCH...

3 Good News

Stephane Boucher March 9, 20161 comment
Good News #1

Last week, I announced a new and ambitious reward program that will be funded by the new Vendors Directory.

This week, I am happy to announce that we have our firsts two sponsors!  Quantum Leaps & Abelon Systems have agreed to pay the sponsorship fee to be listed in the new Vendors Directory.  Because of their support, there is now some money in the reward pool ($1,000) and enough to pay for the firsts 500 'beers' awarded.  Please...

Errata for the book: 'Understanding Digital Signal Processing'

Rick Lyons October 4, 20179 comments
Errata 3rd Ed. International Version.pdfErrata 3rd Ed. International Version.pdf

This 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...

Collaborative Writing Experiment: Your Favorite DSP Websites

Stephane Boucher May 30, 2013

You are invited to contribute to the content of this blog post through the magic of Google Docs' real time collaboration feature.

I discovered this tool several months ago when I was looking for a way to coordinate our annual family halloween party (potluck) and avoid the very unpleasant situation of ending up with too much chips and not enough chocolate (first world problem!).  It was amusing to keep an eye on the "food you will bring" document we had created for this and watch...

DFT Bin Value Formulas for Pure Real Tones

Cedron Dawg April 17, 20151 comment

This 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:

5G NR QC-LDPC Encoding Algorithm

Lyons Zhang September 10, 20192 comments

3GPP 5G has been focused on structured LDPC codes known as quasi-cyclic low-density parity-check (QC-LDPC) codes, which exhibit advantages over other types of LDPC codes with respect to the hardware implementations of encoding and decoding using simple shift registers and logic circuits.  

5G NR QC-LDPC  Circulant Permutation Matrix

A circular permutation matrix ${\bf I}(P_{i,j})$ of size $Z_c \times Z_c$ is obtained by circularly shifting the identity matrix $\bf I$ of...

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...

Feedback Controllers - Making Hardware with Firmware. Part I. Introduction

Steve Maslen August 22, 2017
Introduction to the topic 

This is the 1st in a series of articles looking at how we can use DSP and Feedback Control Sciences along with some mixed-signal electronics and number-crunching capability (e.g. FPGA), to create arbitrary (within reason) Electrical/Electronic Circuits with real-world connectivity. Of equal importance will be the evaluation of the functionality and performance of a practical design made from modestly-priced state of the art devices.

  • Part 1: 

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

Jason Sachs March 12, 20181 comment

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...

The Freshers Interview Guide

Jeff Brower September 19, 200720 comments

At Signalogic I'm in hiring mode right now, looking for a couple of entry-level engineers. After several interviews over the last few weeks I find troubling patterns... things young engineers should know, but they don't. Things they put on their resume but shouldn't, things they say or do in the interview they should not, and things they fail to say or do.

Then I see questions for "interview help" on DSP and FPGA tech groups that miss the point, asking about how to do...

FIR sideways (interpolator polyphase decomposition)

Markus Nentwig September 12, 20129 comments

An efficient implementation of a symmetric-FIR polyphase 1:3 interpolator that doesn't follow the usual tapped delay line-paradigm. The example exploits the impulse response symmetry and avoids four multiplications out of 10. keywords: symmetric polyphase FIR filter implementation ASIC Matlab / Octave implementation


An interpolating FIR filter can be implemented with a single tapped delay line, possibly going forwards and backwards for a symmetric impulse response. To...

Harmonic Notch Filter

Mike March 28, 201615 comments

My basement is covered with power lines and florescent lights which makes collecting ECG and EEG data  rather difficult due to the 60 cycle hum.  I found the following notch filter to work very well at eliminating the background signal without effecting the highly amplified signals I was looking for. 

The notch filter is based on the a transfer function with the form $$H(z)=\frac{1}{2}(1+A(z))$$ where A(z) is an all pass filter. The original paper [1] describes a method to...