Finding the Best Optimum

Tim Wescott November 4, 2013

When I was in school learning electrical engineering I owned a large mental pot, full of simmering resentment against the curriculum as it was being taught.

It really started in my junior year, when we took Semiconductor Devices, or more accurately "how to build circuits using transistors". I had been seduced by the pure mathematics of sophomore EE courses, where all the circuit elements (resistors, capacitors, coils and -- oh the joy -- dependent sources) are ideally modeled, and the labs...

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

Rick Lyons September 16, 20137 comments

A few days ago, on the 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...

Python scipy.signal IIR Filtering: An Example

Christopher Felton May 19, 2013

In the last posts I reviewed how to use the Python scipy.signal package to design digital infinite impulse response (IIR) filters, specifically, using the iirdesign function (IIR design I and IIR design II ).  In this post I am going to conclude the IIR filter design review with an example.

Previous posts:

A Quadrature Signals Tutorial: Complex, But Not Complicated

Rick Lyons April 12, 201365 comments

Introduction Quadrature signals are based on the notion of complex numbers and perhaps no other topic causes more heartache for newcomers to DSP than these numbers and their strange terminology of j operator, complex, imaginary, real, and orthogonal. If you're a little unsure of the physical meaning of complex numbers and the j = √-1 operator, don't feel bad because you're in good company. Why even Karl Gauss, one the world's greatest mathematicians, called the j-operator the "shadow of...

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...

Design of an anti-aliasing filter for a DAC

Markus Nentwig August 18, 2012
  • Octaveforge / Matlab design script. Download: here
  • weighted numerical optimization of Laplace-domain transfer function
  • linear-phase design, optimizes vector error (magnitude and phase)
  • design process calculates and corrects group delay internally
  • includes sinc() response of the sample-and-hold stage in the ADC
  • optionally includes multiplierless FIR filter
Problem Figure 1: Typical FIR-DAC-analog lowpass line-up

Digital-to-analog conversion connects digital...

Understanding the 'Phasing Method' of Single Sideband Demodulation

Rick Lyons August 8, 201230 comments

There are four ways to demodulate a transmitted single sideband (SSB) signal. Those four methods are:

  • synchronous detection,
  • phasing method,
  • Weaver method, and
  • filtering method.

Here we review synchronous detection in preparation for explaining, in detail, how the phasing method works. This blog contains lots of preliminary information, so if you're already familiar with SSB signals you might want to scroll down to the 'SSB DEMODULATION BY SYNCHRONOUS DETECTION'...

Python scipy.signal IIR Filter Design Cont.

Christopher Felton June 19, 20127 comments

In the previous post the Python scipy.signal iirdesign function was disected.  We reviewed the basics of filter specification and reviewed how to use the iirdesign function to design IIR filters.  The previous post I only demonstrated low pass filter designs.  The following are examples how to use the iirdesign function for highpass, bandpass, and stopband filters designs.

Highpass Filter

The following is a highpass filter design for the different filter...

Python scipy.signal IIR Filter Design

Christopher Felton May 13, 20124 comments

The following is an introduction on how to design an infinite impulse response (IIR) filters using the Python scipy.signal package.  This post, mainly, covers how to use the scipy.signal package and is not a thorough introduction to IIR filter design.  For complete coverage of IIR filter design and structure see one of the references.

Filter Specification

Before providing some examples lets review the specifications for a filter design.  A filter...

Instant CIC

Markus Nentwig May 8, 20124 comments


A floating point model for a CIC decimator, including the frequency response.


A CIC filter relies on a peculiarity of its fixed-point implementation: Normal operation involves repeated internal overflows that have no effect to the output signal, as they cancel in the following stage.

One way to put it intuitively is that only the speed (and rate of change) of every little "wheel" in the clockworks carries information, but its absolute position is...

Least-squares magic bullets? The Moore-Penrose Pseudoinverse

Markus Nentwig October 24, 20109 comments


the topic of this brief article is a tool that can be applied to a variety of problems: The Moore-Penrose Pseudoinverse.While maybe not exactly a magic bullet, it gives us least-squares optimal solutions, and that is under many circumstances the best we can reasonably expect.

I'll demonstrate its use on a short example. More details can be found for example on Wikipedia, or the Matlab documentation...

Approximating the area of a chirp by fitting a polynomial

Alexandre de Siqueira November 15, 20158 comments

Once in a while we need to estimate the area of a dataset in which we are interested. This area could give us, for example, force (mass vs acceleration) or electric power (electric current vs charge).

One way to do that is fitting a curve on our data, and let's face it: this is not that easy. In this post we will work on this issue using Python and its packages. If you do not have Python installed on your system, check here how to...

Compute Images/Aliases of CIC Interpolators/Decimators

Neil Robertson November 1, 20202 comments

Cascade-Integrator-Comb (CIC) filters are efficient fixed-point interpolators or decimators.  For these filters, all coefficients are equal to 1, and there are no multipliers.  They are typically used when a large change in sample rate is needed.  This article provides two very simple Matlab functions that can be used to compute the spectral images of CIC interpolators and the aliases of CIC decimators.

1.  CIC Interpolators

Figure 1 shows three interpolate-by-M...

The Zeroing Sine Family of Window Functions

Cedron Dawg August 16, 20202 comments

This is an article to hopefully give a better understanding of the Discrete Fourier Transform (DFT) by introducing a class of well behaved window functions that the author believes to be previously unrecognized. The definition and some characteristics are displayed. The heavy math will come in later articles. This is an introduction to the family, and a very special member of it.

This is one of my longer articles. The bulk of the material is in the front half. The...

Polar Coding Notes: Channel Combining and Channel Splitting

Lyons Zhang October 19, 20181 comment

Channel Combining  

Channel combining is a step that combines copies of a given B-DMC $W$ in a recursive manner to produce a vector channel $W_N : {\cal X}^N \to {\cal Y}^N$, where $N$ can be any power of two, $N=2^n, n\le0^{[1]}$.  

The notation $u_1^N$ as shorthand for denoting a row vector $(u_1, \dots , u_N)$.  

The vector channel $W_N$ is the virtual channel between the input sequence $u_1^N$ to a linear encoder and the output sequence $y^N_1$ of $N$...

Exploring Human Hearing Range

Stephen Morris October 31, 20204 comments
Human Hearing Range

In this post, I'll look at an interesting aspect of Audacity – using it to explore the threshold of human hearing. In my book Digital Signal Processing: A Gentle Introduction with Audio Examples, I go into this topic and I include a side note on the amazing hearing range of our canine companions.

Creating a Test Audio File

Audacity allows for the generation of a variety of test signals. If you click the Generate->Tone menu, it looks something like...

[Book Review] Numpy 1.5 Beginner's Guide

Christopher Felton January 7, 2012

Full Disclosure: The publisher of this book, PACKT, was soliciting reviewers.  I volunteered to review the book and the publisher sent me an e-version of the book.


The following is a review of "Numpy 1.5 Beginner's Guide", "Learn by doing: less theory, more results" by Ivan Idris.  As the title suggests this book is for a beginner.  Either someone who is new to numerical computing with high-level languages (HLL) or someone who is new to the Python...

Implementing a full-duplex UART using the TMS320VC33 serial port

Manuel Herrera March 16, 20112 comments

Although the TMS320VC33 serial port was designed to be used as a synchronous port, it can also be used as an asynchronous port under software control. This post describes the hardware and software needed to use a TMS320VC33 serial port as a full-duplex UART port. A schematic diagram and a lengthy code listing are provided to illustrate the solution. This note discusses the implementation of an interrupt-driven, full-duplex, asynchronous serial interface, 9600-baud UART with 8 data bits, 1...

Unit Testing for Embedded Algorithms

Anthony Ricke December 21, 2009

Happy Holidays! For my premier article, I am writing about my favorite technique to use when designing and developing software- unit testing. Unit testing is a best practice when designing software. It allows the designer to verify the behavior of the software units before the entire system is complete, and it facilitates the change and growth of the software system because the developer can verify that the changes will not affect the behavior of other parts of the system. I have used...

Determination of the transfer function of passive networks with MATLAB Functions

Josef Hoffmann December 7, 20212 comments

With MATLAB functions, the transfer function of passive networks can be determined relatively easily. The method is explained using the example of a passive low-pass filter of the sixth order, which is shown in Fig.1

Fig.1 Passive low-pass filter of the sixth order

If one tried, as would be logical, to calculate the transfer function starting from the input, it would be quite complicated. On the other hand, if you start from the output, the determination of this function is simple...