Digital signal processing


Digital signal processing (DSP) is the use of digital processing, such as by computers or more specialized digital signal processors, to perform a wide variety of signal processing operations. The digital signals processed in this manner are a sequence of numbers that represent samples of a continuous variable in a domain such as time, space, or frequency. In digital electronics, a digital signal is represented as a pulse train, which is typically generated by the switching of a transistor.

Digital signal processing and analog signal processing are subfields of signal processing. DSP applications include audio and speech processing, sonar, radar and other sensor array processing, spectral density estimation, statistical signal processing, digital image processing, data compression, video coding, audio coding, image compression, signal processing for telecommunications, control systems, biomedical engineering, and seismology, among others.

DSP can involve linear or nonlinear operations. Nonlinear signal processing is closely related to nonlinear system identification and can be implemented in the time, frequency, and spatio-temporal domains.

The application of digital computation to signal processing allows for many advantages over analog processing in many applications, such as error detection and correction in transmission as well as data compression. Digital signal processing is also fundamental to digital technology, such as digital telecommunication and wireless communications. DSP is applicable to both streaming data and static (stored) data.

Signal sampling

To digitally analyze and manipulate an analog signal, it must be digitized with an analog-to-digital converter (ADC). Sampling is usually carried out in two stages, discretization and quantization. Discretization means that the signal is divided into equal intervals of time, and each interval is represented by a single measurement of amplitude. Quantization means each amplitude measurement is approximated by a value from a finite set. Rounding real numbers to integers is an example.

The Nyquist–Shannon sampling theorem states that a signal can be exactly reconstructed from its samples if the sampling frequency is greater than twice the highest frequency component in the signal. In practice, the sampling frequency is often significantly higher than twice the Nyquist frequency.

Theoretical DSP analyses and derivations are typically performed on discrete-time signal models with no amplitude inaccuracies (quantization error), "created" by the abstract process of sampling. Numerical methods require a quantized signal, such as those produced by an ADC. The processed result might be a frequency spectrum or a set of statistics. But often it is another quantized signal that is converted back to analog form by a digital-to-analog converter (DAC).


General application areas for DSP include

  • Audio signal processing
  • Audio data compression e.g. MP3
  • Video data compression
  • Computer graphics
  • Digital image processing
  • Photo manipulation
  • Speech processing
  • Speech recognition
  • Data transmission
  • Radar
  • Sonar
  • Financial signal processing
  • Economic forecasting
  • Seismology
  • Biomedicine
  • Weather forecasting

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