A vertically-integrated application-driven signal processing laboratory
Hardware-based laboratories have been successfully integrated into individual Digital Signal Processing (DSP) courses at many universities. Typically, most hardware-based DSP laboratory experiences are offered to upper-level students and focus on programming the signal processor. Although fundamental concepts are explored in laboratory exercises, the emphasis often remains on the mechanics of hardware implementation. Thus, topics are not presented in the context of realistic applications. While such an approach may be ideal for preparing motivated upper-level students for future careers in signal processing, it is not suitable for students with no prior experience in the field. The signal processing laboratory being developed at Duke University is modeled, in part, after existing successful signal processing laboratories, but introduces two innovative features. First, the new laboratory will be integrated into multiple courses from the sophomore to senior level, rather than a single course. Second, the laboratory exercises will be application-driven and will emphasize the development of signal processing algorithms to be implemented on the hardware. As the students advance through the signal processing curriculum, they will transition from high-level algorithm generation to hardware-level design and implementation. This hierarchical training will provide a thorough, extended, and increasingly focused exposure to signal processing.
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