## 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]. ...

## Back from ESC Boston

NOT going to ESC Boston would have allowed me to stay home, in my comfort zone.

NOT going to ESC Boston would have saved me from driving in the absolutely horrible & stressful Boston traffic1.

NOT going to ESC Boston would have saved me from having to go through a full search & questioning session at the Canada Customs on my return2.

2017/06/06 update: Videos are now up!So two days...

## A Beginner's Guide to OFDM

In the recent past, high data rate wireless communications is often considered synonymous to an Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) system. OFDM is a special case of multi-carrier communication as opposed to a conventional single-carrier system.

The concepts on which OFDM is based are so simple that almost everyone in the wireless community is a technical expert in this subject. However, I have always felt an absence of a really simple guide on how OFDM works which can...

## Simplest Calculation of Half-band Filter Coefficients

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...

## 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 +...

## Online DSP Classes: Why Such a High Dropout Rate?

Last year the IEEE Signal Processing Magazine published a lengthy article describing three university-sponsored online digital signal processing (DSP) courses [1]. The article detailed all the effort the professors expended in creating those courses and the courses' perceived values to students.

However, one fact that struck me as important, but not thoroughly addressed in the article, was the shocking dropout rate of those online courses. For two of the courses the article's...

## Optimizing the Half-band Filters in Multistage Decimation and Interpolation

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

## Free DSP Books on the Internet

While surfing the "net" I have occasionally encountered signal processing books whose chapters could be downloaded to my computer. I started keeping a list of those books and, over the years, that list has grown to over forty books. Perhaps the list will be of interest to you.

Please know, all of the listed books are copyrighted. The copyright holders have graciously provided their books free of charge for downloading for individual use, but multiple copies must not be made or printed. As...

## Understanding and Implementing the Sliding DFT

IntroductionIn many applications the detection or processing of signals in the frequency domain offers an advantage over performing the same task in the time-domain. Sometimes the advantage is just a simpler or more conceptually straightforward algorithm, and often the largest barrier to working in the frequency domain is the complexity or latency involved in the Fast Fourier Transform computation. If the frequency-domain data must be updated frequently in a...

## Generating pink noise

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...

## Frequency Dependence in Free Space Propagation

Introduction

It seems to be fairly common knowledge, even among practicing professionals, that the efficiency of propagation of wireless signals is frequency dependent. Generally it is believed that lower frequencies are desirable since pathloss effects will be less than they would be at higher frequencies. As evidence of this, the Friis Transmission Equation[i] is often cited, the general form of which is usually written as:

Pr = Pt Gt Gr ( λ / 4πd )2 (1)

where the...

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

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:

## An s-Plane to z-Plane Mapping Example

While surfing around the Internet recently I encountered the 's-plane to z-plane mapping' diagram shown in Figure 1. At first I thought the diagram was neat because it's a good example of the old English idiom: "A picture is worth a thousand words." However, as I continued to look at Figure 1 I began to detect what I believe are errors in the diagram.

Reader, please take a few moments to see if you detect any errors in Figure 1.

...## Polyphase filter / Farrows interpolation

Hello,

this article is meant to give a quick overview over polyphase filtering and Farrows interpolation.

A good reference with more depth is for example Fred Harris' paper: http://www.signumconcepts.com/IP_center/paper018.pdf

The task is as follows: Interpolate a band-limited discrete-time signal at a variable offset between samples.In other words:Delay the signal by a given amount with sub-sample accuracy.Both mean the same.

The picture below shows samples (black) representing...

## Four Ways to Compute an Inverse FFT Using the Forward FFT Algorithm

If you need to compute inverse fast Fourier transforms (inverse FFTs) but you only have forward FFT software (or forward FFT FPGA cores) available to you, below are four ways to solve your problem.

Preliminaries To define what we're thinking about here, an N-point forward FFT and an N-point inverse FFT are described by:

$$ Forward \ FFT \rightarrow X(m) = \sum_{n=0}^{N-1} x(n)e^{-j2\pi nm/N} \tag{1} $$ $$ Inverse \ FFT \rightarrow x(n) = {1 \over N} \sum_{m=0}^{N-1}...## Understanding and Relating E_{b}/N_{o}, SNR, and other Power Efficiency Metrics

Introduction

Evaluating the performance of communication systems, and wireless systems in particular, usually involves quantifying some performance metric as a function of Signal-to-Noise-Ratio (SNR) or some similar measurement. Many systems require performance evaluation in multipath channels, some in Doppler conditions and other impairments related to mobility. Some have interference metrics to measure against, but nearly all include noise power as an impairment. Not all systems are...

## Time Machine, Anyone?

Abstract: Dispersive linear systems with negative group delay have caused much confusion in the past. Some claim that they violate causality, others that they are the cause of superluminal tunneling. Can we really receive messages before they are sent? This article aims at pouring oil in the fire and causing yet more confusion :-).

IntroductionIn this article we reproduce the results of a physical experiment...

## Understanding and Preventing Overflow (I Had Too Much to Add Last Night)

Happy Thanksgiving! Maybe the memory of eating too much turkey is fresh in your mind. If so, this would be a good time to talk about overflow.

In the world of floating-point arithmetic, overflow is possible but not particularly common. You can get it when numbers become too large; IEEE double-precision floating-point numbers support a range of just under 21024, and if you go beyond that you have problems:

for k in [10, 100, 1000, 1020, 1023, 1023.9, 1023.9999, 1024]: try: ...## Frequency Dependence in Free Space Propagation

Introduction

It seems to be fairly common knowledge, even among practicing professionals, that the efficiency of propagation of wireless signals is frequency dependent. Generally it is believed that lower frequencies are desirable since pathloss effects will be less than they would be at higher frequencies. As evidence of this, the Friis Transmission Equation[i] is often cited, the general form of which is usually written as:

Pr = Pt Gt Gr ( λ / 4πd )2 (1)

where the...

## A Differentiator With a Difference

Some time ago I was studying various digital differentiating networks, i.e., networks that approximate the process of taking the derivative of a discrete time-domain sequence. By "studying" I mean that I was experimenting with various differentiating filter coefficients, and I discovered a computationally-efficient digital differentiator. A differentiator that, for low fequency signals, has the power of George Foreman's right hand! Before I describe this differentiator, let's review a few...

## Accurate Measurement of a Sinusoid's Peak Amplitude Based on FFT Data

There are two code snippets associated with this blog post:

and

Testing the Flat-Top Windowing Function

This blog discusses an accurate method of estimating time-domain sinewave peak amplitudes based on fast Fourier transform (FFT) data. Such an operation sounds simple, but the scalloping loss characteristic of FFTs complicates the process. We eliminate that complication by...

## Understanding and Implementing the Sliding DFT

IntroductionIn many applications the detection or processing of signals in the frequency domain offers an advantage over performing the same task in the time-domain. Sometimes the advantage is just a simpler or more conceptually straightforward algorithm, and often the largest barrier to working in the frequency domain is the complexity or latency involved in the Fast Fourier Transform computation. If the frequency-domain data must be updated frequently in a...

## Oscilloscope Dreams

My coworkers and I recently needed a new oscilloscope. I thought I would share some of the features I look for when purchasing one.

When I was in college in the early 1990's, our oscilloscopes looked like this:

Now the cathode ray tubes have almost all been replaced by digital storage scopes with color LCD screens, and they look like these:

Oscilloscopes are basically just fancy expensive boxes for graphing voltage vs. time. They span a wide range of features and prices:...

## Two jobs

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.

I currently have two jobs: one as an electrical/dsp engineer recycled as a web publisher and the other as a parent of three kids. My job...

## Do you like the new Comments System?

I have just finished implementing a new comments system for the blogs. Do you like it?

Please share your thoughts with me by adding a comment.

I'll wait a few days and make sure it works properly and then I'll port it to the code snippets and papers section.

Thanks!

## DSP Papers, Articles, Theses, etc

As you may already know, there is a 'Papers and Theses' section on DSPRelated:http://www.dsprelated.com/documents.phpThere are hundreds of DSP Related documents (articles, papers, theses, dissertations, etc) scattered all around the web, and the goal with this section is to find and list as many of those documents as possible in one place. There are, at the moment, a little over 100 documents listed, which I believe is only a small subset of what is available out there, and I need your help...

## Code Snippets Suggestions

Despite being only a couple of months old, the Code Snippet section ( DSPRelated.com/code.php ) already contains tens of snippets, thanks to the contributors who have taken the time to share their code.

But let's not stop here - there is room for several hundreds more snippets before the database can be said to cover a decent portion of the DSP field.

To keep the momentum going, I will do two things:

First, I am modifying the rewards program. Instead of...

## Latest DSP Books

As you may already know, Rick Lyons has just published a new edition of his highly acclaimed book: "Understanding Digital Signal Processing". This book has been getting very high ratings and positive reviews from the DSP community since the publication of the first edition. The 3rd edition seems to contain more than enough new material to justify replacing your old copy.

Also of possible interest to you, a new DSP book by C. Britton Rorabaugh titled "

## Code Snippets Section Now LIVE

The new code sharing section is now live and can be accessed HERE.

Please take a few minutes to rate and/or comment the snippets that you have the expertise to judge.

If you think of some code snippets that you would like to share with the DSP community, please apply to become a contributor HERE.

If you are not aware of the reward program for contributors, your can learn about it HERE.

As always, your comments and suggestions are...

## New Code Sharing Section & Reward Program for Contributors!

UPDATE (11/02/2010): The code section is now live.

UPDATE 2 (01/31/2011): The reward program has changed. A flat fee of $20 per code snippet submitted will now be paid.

_______________

I am very happy to finally announce the imminent launch of the new code sharing section. My vision for this new section is a rich library of high quality code snippets for the DSP community, from processor specific functions to Matlab or Scilab routines, from the simplest filter...

## 50,000th Member Announced!

In my last post, I wrote that DSPRelated.com was about to reach the 50,000 members mark. Well, I am very happy to announce that it happened during the holidays, and the lucky person is Charlie Tsai from Taiwan. Charlie is an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering at the National Central University in Taiwan where he teaches the "Biomedical Signal Processing" class. He is also the advisor of the

## Almost 50,000 Members!

I am very happy to announce that DSPRelated.com will reach the 50,000 registered members mark before the end of 2009. To celebrate this milestone, I will buy a BMW 5 to the 50,000th person to register (please make sure to confirm you email address to activate your registration). Please read the fine prints after the picture.

I am just having fun here and it's not even April's fool day. The 50,000th member won't get a BMW (I wish I could offer it!),...

## DSPRelated faster than ever!

if you are visiting DSPRelated.com on a regular basis, you should observe that the site loads significantly faster in your browser than it used to, especially if you are in Europe or in Asia. The main reason for this is that I am now using Amazon's CloudFront service for the delivery of most static content on DSPRelated.com (images, javascripts, css). The cloudFront service automatically detects the location of a visitor and will deliver the static content from the server...