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Dsp On Generic Machines

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

ECE Laboratory Design

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.499.1 - 11.499.8



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Paper Authors


Dick Blandford University of Evansville

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Dr. Dick K. Blandford is the Chair of the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department at the University of Evansville.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

DSP on Generic Machines Abstract

Many electrical engineering classes which introduce digital signal processing at the undergraduate level include a laboratory component in which students implement systems on dedicated DSP boards. Many such boards are programmed in an unfamiliar assembly language or they require cumbersome I/O drivers. Instructors must decide whether to spend class time teaching arcane programming techniques or to give the students the templates as "magic" pieces that make it all work. In this paper, another alternative is considered: can a generic processor with which the students are familiar from a previous embedded systems class be used to teach DSP, and if so, what is lost by not using the dedicated DSP systems? The pros and cons of both sides are considered, and results from the use of three different generic processors are presented.


Over the past 20 years, digital signal processing (DSP) has been introduced into the undergraduate electrical engineering curriculum. Today many programs either require an introduction to DSP, or introduce the topic as a significant part of one or more courses related to linear systems. An introductory DSP class typically follows a first course on linear systems and is most often taken as a second semester junior level class or at the senior level. However, some schools have begun introducing DSP at the sophomore level as a vehicle for teaching linear systems in place of, or as a supplement to the traditional circuits sequence.

Many DSP introductory classes include a lab where students implement digital algorithms on real-time signals. The audio band of frequencies provides suitable applications. Many introductory courses are limited to this band; however, this seems to be slowly changing as processors become more capable and applications such as wireless technology are moved into the undergraduate curriculum.

Typical labs feature experiments carried out on one of the many DSP development boards produced for this purpose, such as those from Analog Devices, Motorola, Texas Instruments and others. Matlab, or one of its clones,1, 2 is used for almost all DSP systems as the vehicle to design algorithms, which are then implemented in either assembly language or in a compiled language which is almost always C.

For students, learning a new assembly language is sometimes difficult. Even for algorithms implemented in C, the low level interfacing software is often provided without much in the way of explanation.

This paper examines an alternative strategy of using a generic processor to implement DSP algorithms with the inherent advantage that, in many cases, students coming into the class have a

Blandford, D. (2006, June), Dsp On Generic Machines Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--765

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