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Old Tricks for a New Dog: An Innovative Software Tool for Teaching Real-Time DSP on a New Hardware Platform

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Computational Tools

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1118.1 - 22.1118.9



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Paper Authors

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Michael G. Morrow P.E. University of Wisconsin, Madison


Cameron H. G. Wright P.E. University of Wyoming Orcid 16x16

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Cameron H. G. Wright, Ph.D, P.E., is an Associate Professor with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY. He was previously Professor and Deputy Department Head in the Department of Electrical Engineering at the United States Air Force Academy, and served as an R&D engineering officer in the U.S. Air Force for over 20 years. He received the B.S.E.E. (summa cum laude) from Louisiana Tech University in 1983, the M.S.E.E. from Purdue University in 1988, and the Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in 1996. Cam's research interests include signal and image processing, real-time embedded computer systems, biomedical instrumentation, and engineering education. He is a member of ASEE, IEEE, SPIE, BMES, NSPE, Tau Beta Pi, and Eta Kappa Nu. His teaching awards include the Tau Beta Pi WY-A Undergraduate Teaching Award (2011), the IEEE Student Branch's Outstanding Professor of the Year (2005 and 2008), the Mortar Board "Top Prof" award (2005 and 2007), the Outstanding Teaching Award from the ASEE Rocky Mountain Section (2007), and the Brigadier General R. E. Thomas Award for outstanding contribution to cadet education (both 1992 and 1993) at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Cam currently serves as Associate Department Head, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

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Thad B. Welch III P.E. Boise State University

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Old Tricks for a New Dog: An Innovative Software Tool for Teaching Real- Time DSP on a New Hardware PlatformReal-time digital signal processing (DSP) is a challenging topic for many students. In order tohelp students successfully transition from theory to real-time practice, there needs to be aninfrastructure in place to support them and target as many modes of learning as are reasonablypossible. One very important segment of this needed infrastructure is a tool to support facultydemonstrations, student experimentation, and student self-learning. Professional-grade toolssuch as Texas Instruments (TI) Code Composer Studio are usually considered too complex tolend themselves easily to this pursuit. To overcome this difficulty, the authors developed asoftware package with an easy to use graphical user interface that is specifically tailored forteaching real-time DSP on inexpensive DSP starter kit (DSK) hardware by Texas Instruments.This package has evolved over the years, and has been described at earlier stages of developmentat previous ASEE conferences; previous versions are being used at many universities around theworld. The original version, called winDSK, was designed for the TI C31 DSK. It was expandedand targeted to the more powerful TI C6711 DSK (and renamed winDSK6), then later modifiedto also target the even faster and more capable TI C6713 DSK. As we gained experience withthe tool and obtained feedback from ASEE audiences, more capabilities were added over theyears that allowed more effective teaching of additional DSP topics. Recently, TexasInstruments introduced a new, inexpensive hardware platform that represents a huge step up incapability and complexity for teaching real-time DSP. This platform is the OMAP-L138, whichcontains a multi-core device that includes both an ARM926 general purpose processor and aC6748 digital signal processor. Without an easy to use tool such as winDSK6, it would beextremely difficult for educators to take advantage of this new platform, but expandingwinDSK6 to include this new hardware target is no trivial task. This paper describes the resultsof creating a new version called winDSK8 that can operate seamlessly with the new OMAP-L138 hardware platform, providing the same easy to use graphical user interface that isspecifically tailored for teaching real-time DSP, for which previous versions of winDSK werewell known. A description of teaching examples using this new hardware/software combinationwill be included.

Morrow, M. G., & Wright, C. H. G., & Welch, T. B. (2011, June), Old Tricks for a New Dog: An Innovative Software Tool for Teaching Real-Time DSP on a New Hardware Platform Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18418

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