## Make Hardware Great Again

By now you're aware of the collective angst in the US about 5G. Why is the US not a leader in 5G ? Could that also happen -- indeed, is it happening -- in AI ? If we lead in other areas, why not 5G ? What makes it so hard ?

This hand-wringing has reached the highest levels in US government. Recently the Wall Street Journal reported on a DoJ promoted plan 1 to help Cisco buy Ericsson or Nokia, to give the US a leg up in 5G. This is not a new plan,...

## 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...

## Third-Order Distortion of a Digitally-Modulated Signal

June 9, 2020
Analog designers are always harping about amplifier third-order distortion.  Why?  In this article, we’ll look at why third-order distortion is important, and simulate a QAM signal with third-order distortion.

In the following analysis, we assume that signal phase at the amplifier output is not a function of amplitude.  With this assumption, the output y of a non-ideal amplifier can be written as a power series of the input signal x:

y=...

## A Narrow Bandpass Filter in Octave or Matlab

The design of a very narrow bandpass FIR filter, coded in either Octave or Matlab, can prove challenging if a computationally-efficient  filter is required. This is especially true if the sampling rate is high relative to the filter's center frequency. The most obvious filter design methods, using either window-based or Remez ( Parks-McClellan ) functions, can easily result in filters with many thousands of taps.

The filter to be described reduces the computational effort (and thus...

## Second Order Discrete-Time System Demonstration

Discrete-time systems are remarkable:  the time response can be computed from mere difference equations, and the coefficients ai, bi of these equations are also the coefficients of H(z).  Here, I try to illustrate this remarkableness by converting a continuous-time second-order system to an approximately equivalent discrete-time system.  With a discrete-time model, we can then easily compute the time response to any input.  But note that the goal here is as much to...

## A Beginner's Guide To Cascaded Integrator-Comb (CIC) Filters

This blog discusses the behavior, mathematics, and implementation of cascaded integrator-comb filters.

Cascaded integrator-comb (CIC) digital filters are computationally-efficient implementations of narrowband lowpass filters, and are often embedded in hardware implementations of decimation, interpolation, and delta-sigma converter filtering.

After describing a few applications of CIC filters, this blog introduces their structure and behavior, presents the frequency-domain...

Former Texas Instruments Sr. Fellow Gene Frantz and former TI Fellow Alan Gatherer wrote a 2017 IEEE article about the "death and rebirth" of DSP as a discipline, explaining that now signal processing provides indispensable building blocks in widely popular and lucrative areas such as data science and machine learning. The article implies that DSP will now be taught in university engineering programs as its linear systems and electromagnetics...

## Digging into an Audio Signal and the DSP Process Pipeline

In this post, I'll look at the benefits of using multiple perspectives when handling signals.A Pre-existing Audio File

Let's say we have an audio file of interest. Let's load it into Audacity and zoom in a little (using View → Zoom → Zoom In, multiple times). The figure illustrates the audio signal: just a basic single-tone signal.

By continuing to zoom into the signal, we eventually get to the point of seeing individual samples as illustrated below. Notice that I've marked one...

## A Simplified Matlab Function for Power Spectral Density

In an earlier post [1], I showed how to compute power spectral density (PSD) of a discrete-time signal using the Matlab function pwelch [2].  Pwelch is a useful function because it gives the correct output, and it has the option to average multiple Discrete Fourier Transforms (DFTs).  However, a typical function call has five arguments, and it can be hard to remember how to set them all and how they default.

In this post, I create a simplified PSD function by putting a...

## Already 3000+ Attendees Registered for the Upcoming Embedded Online Conference

February 14, 2020

Chances are you already know, through the newsletter or banners on the Related sites, about the upcoming Embedded Online Conference.

Chances are you also already know that you have until the end of the month of February to register for free.

And chances are that you are one of the more than 3000 pro-active engineers who have already registered.

But If you are like me and have a tendency to do tomorrow what can be done today, maybe you haven't registered yet.  You may...

## Evaluate Window Functions for the Discrete Fourier Transform

The Discrete Fourier Transform (DFT) operates on a finite length time sequence to compute its spectrum.  For a continuous signal like a sinewave, you need to capture a segment of the signal in order to perform the DFT.  Usually, you also need to apply a window function to the captured signal before taking the DFT [1 - 3].  There are many different window functions and each produces a different approximation of the spectrum.  In this post, we’ll present Matlab code that...

## 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...

## Frequency-Domain Periodicity and the Discrete Fourier Transform

August 6, 2012

Introduction

Some of the better understood aspects of time-sampled systems are the limitations and requirements imposed by the Nyquist sampling theorem [1]. Somewhat less understood is the periodic nature of the spectra of sampled signals. This article provides some insights into sampling that not only explain the periodic nature of the sampled spectrum, but aliasing, bandlimited sampling, and the so-called "super-Nyquist" or IF sampling. The approaches taken here include both mathematical...

## Second Order Discrete-Time System Demonstration

Discrete-time systems are remarkable:  the time response can be computed from mere difference equations, and the coefficients ai, bi of these equations are also the coefficients of H(z).  Here, I try to illustrate this remarkableness by converting a continuous-time second-order system to an approximately equivalent discrete-time system.  With a discrete-time model, we can then easily compute the time response to any input.  But note that the goal here is as much to...

## 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 :-).

Introduction

## The Most Interesting FIR Filter Equation in the World: Why FIR Filters Can Be Linear Phase

This blog discusses a little-known filter characteristic that enables real- and complex-coefficient tapped-delay line FIR filters to exhibit linear phase behavior. That is, this blog answers the question:

What is the constraint on real- and complex-valued FIR filters that guarantee linear phase behavior in the frequency domain?

I'll declare two things to convince you to continue reading.

Declaration# 1: "That the coefficients must be symmetrical" is not a correct

## The Power Spectrum

October 8, 2016

Often, when calculating the spectrum of a sampled signal, we are interested in relative powers, and we don’t care about the absolute accuracy of the y axis.  However, when the sampled signal represents an analog signal, we sometimes need an accurate picture of the analog signal’s power in the frequency domain.  This post shows how to calculate an accurate power spectrum.

Parseval’s theorem [1,2] is a property of the Discrete Fourier Transform (DFT) that...

## Computing Large DFTs Using Small FFTs

It is possible to compute N-point discrete Fourier transforms (DFTs) using radix-2 fast Fourier transforms (FFTs) whose sizes are less than N. For example, let's say the largest size FFT software routine you have available is a 1024-point FFT. With the following trick you can combine the results of multiple 1024-point FFTs to compute DFTs whose sizes are greater than 1024.

The simplest form of this idea is computing an N-point DFT using two N/2-point FFT operations. Here's how the trick...

## Computing the Group Delay of a Filter

I just learned a new method (new to me at least) for computing the group delay of digital filters. In the event this process turns out to be interesting to my readers, this blog describes the method. Let's start with a bit of algebra so that you'll know I'm not making all of this up.

Assume we have the N-sample h(n) impulse response of a digital filter, with n being our time-domain index, and that we represent the filter's discrete-time Fourier transform (DTFT), H(ω), in polar form...

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

There are two code snippets associated with this blog post:

Flat-Top Windowing Function for the Accurate Measurement of a Sinusoid's Peak Amplitude Based on FFT Data

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...