Digital Signal Processing is carried out by mathematical operations. In comparison, word processing and similar programs merely rearrange stored data. This means that computers designed for business and other general applications are not optimized for algorithms such as digital filtering and Fourier analysis. Digital Signal Processors are microprocessors specifically designed to handle Digital Signal Processing tasks. These devices have seen tremendous growth in the last decade, finding use in everything from cellular telephones to advanced scientific instruments. In fact, hardware engineers use “DSP” to mean Digital Signal Processor, just as algorithm developers use “DSP” to mean Digital Signal Processing. This chapter looks at how DSPs are different from other types of microprocessors, how to decide if a DSP is right for your application, and how to get started in this exciting field.

The Scientist and Engineer’s Guide to Digital Signal Processing, ©1997-1998 by Steven W. Smith. For more information visit the book’s website at: