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Teaching Dsp: Bridging The Gap From Theory To Real Time Hardware

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Programming and DSP Potpourri

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.1069.1 - 7.1069.15



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Paper Authors

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Delores Etter

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Michael Morrow

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Thad Welch

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

Main Menu Session 3220

Teaching DSP: Bridging the Gap from Theory to Real-Time Hardware

Cameron H. G. Wright Department of Electrical Engineering U.S. Air Force Academy, CO

Thad B. Welch, Delores M. Etter Department of Electrical Engineering U.S. Naval Academy, MD

Michael G. Morrow Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering University of Wisconsin-Madison, WI


Many digital signal processing (DSP) topics are difficult for undergraduates to internalize, but studies have shown that demonstrations and laboratory experiences can facilitate the process. In the past, many barriers prevented including real-time DSP hardware in an undergraduate curriculum. This paper describes a pedagogical model the authors have developed which includes theory, demos, lab exercises, and real- time DSP experience using Matlab, C, and real-time DSP hardware that overcomes the barriers. This model has been very successful.

1 Introduction

A common complaint heard from electrical engineering (EE) undergraduates is that many (if not most) of the EE topics are difficult to visualize. One of the fastest growing fields in EE, digital signal processing (DSP) certainly has more than its share of concepts that fit this description. In particular, making the leap from Matlab DSP simulations to real-time DSP hardware has proven to be singularly challenging for faculty and students alike. It is well known that demonstrations and laboratory experiences help most students internalize both the theoretical underpinnings and the practical ramifications of various DSP topics,1–3 but real-time DSP hardware and software have usually been considered too difficult for undergraduates. This high degree of difficulty is due to many factors, including the need to understand parallel processing, multiple memory busses, specialized instruction sets, and— most importantly—a lack of documentation that is “readable” by the non-expert.

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright c 2002, American Society for Engineering Education Main Menu

Etter, D., & Wright, C., & Morrow, M., & Welch, T. (2002, June), Teaching Dsp: Bridging The Gap From Theory To Real Time Hardware Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10273

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