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A Simple Approach to Digital Signal Processing by Gillian Ewers, Craig Marven

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1

The Development of Digital Signal Processing

In this brief chapter we hope to explain how mathematical techniques and computer technology have developed to allow us to process real world signals with digital computers. This historical perspective provides some interesting background to today's state-of-the-art in high-performance DSP.

It is not normally appreciated that the development of digital signal processing began because designers of analog signal processing systems wished to simulate their performance before building expensive prototypes. The obvious tool to perform the simulations on was the digital computer and thus began the development of digital signal processing. It is likely that those early pioneers working through the 1950s and early 1960s had little idea that their work would spawn a major area of digital electronics technology for the 1980s and beyond.

Digital signal processing was dependent on the digital computer and the majority of the mathematics or algorithms have thus been developed since 1950. Once these algorithms became established, designers started to look for the computer architectures that would implement them most effectively. The original goal was to produce simulations that would run in an acceptable time. It is not clear when the idea of using digital computers for real signal processing instead of simulations took hold, but once it did, the objectives changed subtly. The ultimate goal became that of real-time DSP, i.e., the system having to ...

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