What is DSP?

DSP is the short form of Digital Signal Processing. As the name suggests it is used for processing of the digital signal. It can also be applied for representation of discrete time, discrete frequency, or other discrete domain signals using sequence of digits. This page describes DSP, its applications and DSP chip vendors.

To understand what DSP chip consists of let us see its main modules as depicted below.
1.DDR2 Memory- This houses program or application written in C and converted to hex using compilers. These compilers are specific to the chip developed by the manufacturer or designer. This is used to store both the data and code.
2.Computing module- This module is similar to CPU used in computer. It does all the arithmetic and logical operations. Now-a-days this is designed to take care of parallel computing/processing by way of multi core and other concepts such as pipelining.
3.Input and Output Interfaces- This part consists of various ports used for communicating to the external world as mentioned in the figure. For example ADC and DAC are interfaced with DSP.


Common application in our daily lives of DSP is recording and playing the audio. The audio is input to microphone and is converted to digital form using A to D converter. This digital data is passed to DSP which will does encoding or sometimes compression if required and stores the digitized voice in memory. When user play back the same voice, DSP reads it from memory and decodes back to the format required and the same is converted to analog form using D to A converter and user will hear the sound using speaker interface.

DSP Development Tools

There are no common tools available for DSP development environment. Each DSP chip vendor supplies development kit with software to develop code which can be ported for their chip. They even provide instruction set which can be used for highly complex mathematical algorithms. DSP is used in each and every facets of engineering domain viz. space, medical, commercial, telephone, military, industrial and scientific applications.

DSP applications

Used for sampling-Up-sampling and down-sampling
time domain processing - correlation and convolution
frequency analysis- Fourier transforms, windowing
Audio and Image processing
Diagnostic imaging (CT, MRI, ultrasound, and others), Electrocardiogram analysis, Medical image storage/retrieval
Process monitoring and control
Radar, Sonar
Data acquisition and earth quake recording and analysis
Voice and Data compression
filtering - FIR and IIR filter design

Popular DSP chip vendors

Analog devices
LSI (acquired Agere Systems)
Altera digital signal processing development kit
Intel (Acquired Silicon Hive)
Mindspeed (Acquired Pico chip)


www.dspalgorithms.com - Signal processing consultancy from algorithm development to assembly optimization, with emphasis on audio DSP.
www.dsp-fpga.com - The Journal of maths-intensive computing.
groups.yahoo.com/clubs/dspengineering - Yahoo Club - Active forum of engineers discussing Digital Signal Processing topics.
www.bdti.com-FAQs - Frequently asked questions on Digital Signal Processing.
www.dsprelated.com - A few DSP related discussion groups covering many Digital Signal Processing topics.
www.dspstore.com - A community site for engineers and professionals in the DSP industry with algorithms, software, news and articles, with links to major manufacturers.
www.dspvalley.com - DSP Valley is a technology network organization, focusing on the design of hardware and software technology for DSP systems. DSP Valley groups members are universities, research institutes and industrial companies.
www.eg3.com - A master index to DSP technical white papers resources, available both on and off the internet.
www.dsp-wave.com - Provides DSP training and consultancy, and has a range of filter design packages available. Based in the UK.

Useful Links

Refer our page on DSP-FPGA evaluation boards very useful for IP core porting of various wireless and DSP algorithms.
Refer our page on DSP Chip vendors/manufacturers.
Refer our page on DSP tutorial which explains best DSP architecture to port complex DSP algorithms.

This page explains what is a DSP chip and provides useful links.

What is?

what is RF?  what is wireless ?  what is zigbee?  what is Bluetooth?  what is lightwave RF?  what is z-wave?  what is microcontroller?  what is GSM?  what is GPRS?  what is infrared? 

RF and Wireless Terminologies