If you work with digital control systems, you quickly run into digital signal-processing theory, simulations, algorithms, and code. But if years have passed since your last exposure to digital signal processing (DSP), you might benefit from a jump start. The people at Newnes, an Elsevier imprint, sent me a copy of “Digital Signal Processing 101,” by Michael Parker, senior DSP technical marketing manager at Altera Corporation. The book bills itself as “Understand digital signal processing–absolutely no prior experience necessary! and notes “Assumes nothing other than familiarity with high school level math.” That might stretch credibility, but someone with an engineering, science, or math background and new to DSP can benefit from most of the information here.
The book’s 21 chapters (275 pages) cover a lot of ground; from basic representation of numbers in a binary environment through synthetic-array radar and video processing. The author’s first chapters on basic math operations and imaginary numbers shouldn’t give engineers any problems. But the author makes a small misstep when he notes sampling a signal must occur at least twice as the signal we’re interested in. First, the Nyquist theorem notes sampling must occur at a rate greater than twice the highest frequency component in a signal. I realize that might seem like a minor point, but engineers get it wrong often and it doesn’t help to repeat this misunderstanding.
Most of the math seems straightforward, but in several places, the lack of brackets or braces can cause momentary confusion. The blame rests with the manuscript editors. Here’s an example from the FIR-filter chapter:
= 1∙1+ 3 ∙ (-j) + 5 ∙ (-1) + 3 ∙ j + 1∙1
= [1∙1] + [3 ∙ (-j)] + [5 ∙ (-1)] + [3 ∙ j] + [1∙1]
Overall Parker puts a lot of information into a short book, but I fear the math is some sections might confuse or discourage some readers. After you get through the chapter on discrete and fast Fourier transforms, though, the math tapers off and you get more general information about how signal processing affects wired and wireless communication and signaling.
Signal processing involves a lot more than any author can cover in 275 pages, so realize you will need some additional tutorial information available in online or printed references. Overall, though, this book provides a good starting point for people who need a quick introduction to DSP. (ISBN: 978-1-85617-921-8. $US 55.)
Do you have a favorite DSP reference book or Web site? Share it here with a comment. –Jon Titus