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Murphy’s Laws in the DSP World (Part 3)

Future Imperfect Unpredictable issues crop up when you move from the real world of analog signals and enter the world of digital signal processing (DSP). In Part 3 of this article series, Mike and Mai focus on strategies for how to—or how to try to—avoid Murphy's Laws when doing DSP. Topics Discussed What's happening Tech Used Tech In the previous two parts of this article series, in June and August (Circuit Cellar 335 and 337), we have been exploring the generation of reliable digital signal processing (DSP) software when using MATLAB or Octave tools to explore new solutions before real-time implementation on actual hardware. By developing a small collection of TimeDomainSignal class methods, we identified, and then attempted to correct, a number of DSP problems. These arise because we are manipulating short collections of sampled data that are meant, somehow, to represent the intricacies of the infinite, analog real world. The first article (Part 1) covered potential problems involving displays of digital signals in time and frequency domains. In Part 2, we discussed how to improve program speed and memory storage issues by digital down-sampling. This involves discarding signal values when we find out that we have been capturing digital signals at a faster rate than is necessary. To avoid issues such as aliasing, sample twice as fast as the fastest frequency in your signal—the Nyquist sampling criterion. We showed how applying digital filters could improve or degrade the quality of the down-sampled signals depending on how they were designed or applied. As an aide de memoire, a DSP Murphy's Law was introduced to describe how to avoid each programming issues. To date, there are nine DSP Murphy's Laws which are listed in Table 1. However, at the end of each article, there was a hint that the application of these Laws during our simulation studies was an imperfect solution. Each time we looked at a new signal, or added a new
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Murphy’s Laws in the DSP World (Part 3)

by Circuit Cellar Staff and Michael Smith, Mai Tanaka and Ehsan Shahrabi Farahani time to read: 23 min