Padé Delay is Okay Today

Jason Sachs March 1, 20166 comments

This article is going to be somewhat different in that I’m not really writing it for the typical embedded systems engineer. Rather it’s kind of a specialized topic, so don’t be surprised if you get bored and move on to something else. That’s fine by me.

Anyway, let’s just jump ahead to the punchline. Here’s a numerical simulation of a step response to a \( p=126, q=130 \) Padé approximation of a time delay:

Impressed? Maybe you should be. This...

The New Forum is LIVE!

Stephane Boucher February 18, 20161 comment

After months of hard word, I am very excited to introduce to you the new forum interface.  

Here are the key features:

1- Easily add images to a post by drag & dropping the images in the editor

2- Easily attach files to a post by drag & dropping the files in the editor

3- Add latex equations to a post and they will be rendered with Mathjax (tutorial)

4- Add a code snippet and surround the code with

Autocorrelation and the case of the missing fundamental

Allen Downey January 21, 201610 comments

[UPDATED January 25, 2016:  One of the examples was broken, also the IPython notebook links now point to nbviewer, where you can hear the examples.]

For sounds with simple harmonic structure, the pitch we perceive is usually the fundamental frequency, even if it is not dominant.  For example, here's the spectrum of a half-second recording of a saxophone.

The first three peaks are at 464, 928, and 1392 Hz.  The pitch we perceive is the fundamental, 464 Hz, which is close to...

Generating pink noise

Allen Downey January 20, 20161 comment

In one of his most famous columns for Scientific American, Martin Gardner wrote about pink noise and its relation to fractal music.  The article was based on a 1978 paper by Voss and Clarke, which presents, among other things, a simple algorithm for generating pink noise, also known as 1/f noise.

The fundamental idea of the algorithm is to add up several sequences of uniform random numbers that get updated at different rates. The first source gets updated at...

Ancient History

Mike January 18, 201612 comments

The other day I was downloading an IDE for a new (to me) OS.  When I went to compile some sample code, it failed.  I went onto a forum, where I was told "if you read the release notes you'd know that the peripheral libraries are in a legacy download".  Well damn!  Looking back at my previous versions I realized I must have done that and forgotten about it.  Everything changes, and keeping up with it takes time and effort.

When I first started with microprocessors we...

Dealing With Fixed Point Fractions

Mike January 5, 20163 comments

Fixed point fractional representation always gives me a headache because I screw it up the first time I try to implement an algorithm. The difference between integer operations and fractional operations is in the overflow.  If the representation fits in the fixed point result, you can not tell the difference between fixed point integer and fixed point fractions.  When integers overflow, they lose data off the most significant bits.  When fractions overflow, they lose data off...

Optimizing the Half-band Filters in Multistage Decimation and Interpolation

Rick Lyons January 4, 201616 comments

This blog discusses a not so well-known rule regarding the filtering in multistage decimation and interpolation by an integer power of two. I'm referring to sample rate change systems using half-band lowpass filters (LPFs) as shown in Figure 1. Here's the story.

Figure 1: Multistage decimation and interpolation using half-band filters.

Multistage Decimation – A Very Brief Review

Figure 2(a) depicts the process of decimation by an integer factor D. That...

The DFT Output and Its Dimensions

Leonid Ovanesyan December 29, 20155 comments

The Discrete Fourier Transform, or DFT, converts a signal from discrete time to discrete frequency. It is commonly implemented as and used as the Fast Fourier Transform (FFT). This article will attempt to clarify the format of the DFT output and how it is produced.

Living in the real world, we deal with real signals. The data we typically sample does not have an imaginary component. For example, the voltage sampled by a receiver is a real value at a particular point in time. Let’s...

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.


Exponential Smoothing with a Wrinkle

Cedron Dawg December 17, 20152 comments

This 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...

A Brief Introduction To Romberg Integration

Rick Lyons January 16, 201911 comments

This blog briefly describes a remarkable integration algorithm, called "Romberg integration." The algorithm is used in the field of numerical analysis but it's not so well-known in the world of DSP.

To show the power of Romberg integration, and to convince you to continue reading, consider the notion of estimating the area under the continuous x(t) = sin(t) curve based on the five x(n) samples represented by the dots in Figure 1.

The results of performing a Trapezoidal Rule, a...

Part 11. Using -ve Latency DSP to Cancel Unwanted Delays in Sampled-Data Filters/Controllers

Steve Maslen June 18, 201917 comments
This final article in the series will look at -ve latency DSP and how it can be used to cancel the unwanted delays in sampled-data systems due to such factors as Nyquist filtering, ADC acquisition, DSP/FPGA algorithm computation time, DAC reconstruction and circuit propagation delays.

Some applications demand zero-latency or zero unwanted latency signal processing. Negative latency DSP may sound like the stuff of science fiction or broken physics but the arrangement as...

Going back to Germany!

Stephane Boucher June 13, 20176 comments

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...

Resolving 'Can't initialize target CPU' on TI C6000 DSPs - Part 2

Mike Dunn November 12, 20073 comments


The previous article discussed CCS configuration. The prerequisite for the following discussion is a valid CCS configuration file. All references will be for CCS 3.3, but they may be used or adapted to other versions of CCS. From the previous discussion, we know that the configuration file is located at 'C:\CCStudio_v3.3\cc\bin\brddat\ccBrd0.dat'.

XDS510 Emulators

Initial discussion will address only XDS510 class emulators that support TI drivers and utilities. This will...

The DFT of Finite-Length Time-Reversed Sequences

Rick Lyons December 20, 201910 comments

Recently I've been reading papers on underwater acoustic communications systems and this caused me to investigate the frequency-domain effects of time-reversal of time-domain sequences. I created this blog because there is so little coverage of this topic in the literature of DSP.

This blog reviews the two types of time-reversal of finite-length sequences and summarizes their discrete Fourier transform (DFT) frequency-domain characteristics.

The Two Types of Time-Reversal in DSP


Orfanidis Textbooks are Available Online

Rick Lyons July 12, 2011

I have just learned that Sophocles J. Orfanidis, the well-known professor with the ECE Department of Rutgers University, has made two of his signal processing textbooks available for downloading on the Internet. The first textbook is: "Introduction to Signal Processing" available at:

Happily, also available at the above web site are:

  • Errata for the textbook.
  • Homework Solutions Manual
  • Errata for Solutions...

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...

Modeling a Continuous-Time System with Matlab

Neil Robertson June 6, 20172 comments

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...

Exact Frequency Formula for a Pure Real Tone in a DFT

Cedron Dawg April 20, 20152 comments

This is an article to hopefully give a better understanding of the Discrete Fourier Transform (DFT) by deriving an exact formula for the frequency of a real tone in a DFT. According to current teaching, this is not possible, so this article should be considered a major theoretical advance in the discipline. The formula is presented in a few different formats. Some sample calculations are provided to give a numerical demonstration of the formula in use. This article is...

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...