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Economy Sized Dsp: Signal Processing Instruction On A Budget

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1997 Annual Conference


Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Publication Date

June 15, 1997

Start Date

June 15, 1997

End Date

June 18, 1997



Page Count


Page Numbers

2.161.1 - 2.161.5

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Paper Authors

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Gregory M. Dick

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

Session 2520

Economy Sized DSP: Signal Processing Instruction on a Budget

Gregory M. Dick University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown


Instruction in Digital Signal Processing can be a very expensive proposition. The cost of a single PC based DSP laboratory station can easily exceed $4,000. Financing a complete lab can be a financial impossibility for some institutions. The benefits of a strong laboratory component to a DSP course are obvious. However, the use of several generally available resources can fulfill some of the functions of the laboratory at greatly reduced costs.

This paper outlines the history of DSP instruction at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown (UPJ). This case study discusses how relatively ubiquitous tools (spreadsheets, advanced mathematical languages (e.g., MATLAB), conventional programming languages, and inexpensive additions to PCs) can be used to support undergraduate DSP education. This approach allows quality DSP instruction - with a modest "laboratory" component to be carried out while resources for more elaborate facilities is being sought.


Undergraduate instruction in Digital Signal Processing has become increasingly popular over the last decade. This is particularly appropriate in light of the significant advances in DSP technology. However, the cost of laboratory equipment to support signal processing instruction can be an impediment to the institution of a new course. The cost of a single, stand-alone DSP laboratory station can easily exceed $4,000. This can be a particularly acute problem in these days of shrinking budgets throughout the higher education community.

"Introduction to Digital Signal Processing" has been taught at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown (UPJ) for ten years. As of this date, all practical exercises have been conducted using existing resources. Thus, the department has not been required to make major investments to support this course. This paper documents the history of the development of this course. It is hoped that it may help others to initiate DSP instruction "on a budget".

Dick, G. M. (1997, June), Economy Sized Dsp: Signal Processing Instruction On A Budget Paper presented at 1997 Annual Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

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