LEARNING DIGITAL SIGNAL PROCESSING
Learning the fundamentals, and how to speak the language, of digital signal processing does not require profound analytical skills or an
background in mathematics. All you need is a little experience with elementary algebra, knowledge of what a sinewave is, this book, and
. This may sound hard to believe, particularly if you've just
through the pages of this book and seen figures and equations that look rather complicated. The content here, you say, looks suspiciously like the material in technical journals and
that, in the past, have successfully resisted your attempts to understand. Well, this is not just another book on digital signal processing.
This book's goal is to gently provide explanation followed by illustration, not so that you may understand the material, but that you must understand the material.
Remember the first time you saw two people playing chess? The game probably appeared to be
and confusing. As you now know, no individual chess move is complicated. Given a little patience, the various chess moves are easy to learn. The game's complexity comes from deciding what combinations of moves to make and when to make them. So it is with understanding digital signal processing. First we learn the fundamental rules and processes, and then practice using them in combination.
If learning digital signal processing is so easy, then why does the subject have the reputation of being hard to understand? The answer lies partially in how the material is typically presented in the literature. It's difficult to
technical information, with its mathematical subtleties, in written form. It's one thing to write equations, but it's another matter altogether to explain what those equations really mean from a practical standpoint, and that's the goal of this book.
Too often, written explanation of digital signal processing theory appears in one of two forms: either mathematical
occur and the reader is simply given a short and sweet equation without further explanation, or the reader is engulfed in a flood of complex variable equations and phrases such as "it is obvious that," and "with judicious application of the homogeneity property." In their defense, authors usually do provide the needed information, but too often the reader must figuratively grab a pick and shovel, put on a miner's helmet, and try to dig the information out of a mountain of mathematical expressions. (This book
the results of several fruitful mining expeditions.) How many times have you followed the derivation of an equation, after which the author states they're going to
that equation with an example—which turns out to be just another equation? Although mathematics is necessary to describe digital signal processing, I've tried to avoid overwhelming the reader with math because a recipe for technical writing that's too rich in equations is hard for the beginner to digest.
The intent of this book is
by a popular quote from E.B. White in the introduction of his
Elements of Style
(Macmillan Publishing, New York, 1959):
"Will (Strunk) felt that the reader was in serious trouble most of the time, a man floundering in a swamp, and that it was the duty of
attempting to write English to drain the swamp quickly and get his man up on dry ground, or at least throw him a rope."
I've attempted to avoid the traditional instructor-student relationship, but rather to make reading this book like talking to a friend while walking in the park. I've used just enough mathematics to develop a fundamental understanding of the theory, and then illustrate that theory with practical examples.