Write a detailed note on DSP Processor.
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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 new field. In the next chapter we will take a more detailed look at one of these sophisticated products: the Analog Devices SHARC? family.

How Fast are DSPs?

The primary reason for using a DSP instead of a traditional microprocessor is speed, the ability to move samples into the device, carry out the needed mathematical operations, and output the processed data. This brings up the question: How fast are DSPs? The usual way of answering this question is benchmarks, methods for expressing the speed of a microprocessor as a number. For instance, fixed point systems are often quoted in MIPS (million integer operations per second). Likewise, floating point devices can be specified in MFLOPS (million floating point operations per second).

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Figure (c) illustrates the next level of sophistication, the Super Harvard Architecture. This term was coined by Analog Devices to describe the internal operation of their ADSP-2106x and new ADSP-211xx families of Digital Signal Processors. These are called SHARC® DSPs, a contraction of the longer term, Super Harvard ARChitecture. The idea is to build upon the Harvard architecture by adding features to improve the throughput. While the SHARC DSPs are optimized in dozens of ways, two areas are important enough to be included in Fig. 28-4c: an instruction cache, and an I/O controller.

First, let's look at how the instruction cache improves the performance of the Harvard architecture. A handicap of the basic Harvard design is that the data memory bus is busier than the program memory bus. When two numbers are multiplied, two binary values (the numbers) must be passed over the data memory bus, while only one binary value (the program instruction) is passed over the program memory bus. To improve upon this situation, we start by relocating part of the "data" to program memory. For instance, we might place the filter coefficients in program memory, while keeping the input signal in data memory. (This relocated data is called "secondary data" in the illustration). At first glance, this doesn't seem to help the situation; now we must transfer one value over the data memory bus (the input signal sample), but two values over the program memory bus (the program instruction and the coefficient). In fact, if we were executing random instructions, this situation would be no better at all.

However, DSP algorithms generally spend most of their execution time in loops, such as instructions 6-12 of Table 28-1. This means that the same set of program instructions will continually pass from program memory to the CPU. The Super Harvard architecture takes advantage of this situation by including an instruction cache in the CPU. This is a small memory that contains about 32 of the most recent program instructions. The first time through a loop, the program instructions must be passed over the program memory bus. This results in slower operation because of the conflict with the coefficients that must also be fetched along this path. However, on additional executions of the loop, the program instructions can be pulled from the instruction cache. This means that all of the memory to CPU information transfers can be accomplished in a single cycle: the sample from the input signal comes over the data memory bus, the coefficient comes over the program memory bus, and the program instruction comes from the instruction cache. In the jargon of the field, this efficient transfer of data is called a high memory-access bandwidth.

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Applications of DSP

DSPs dominate the area of waveform, speech, and image coding. They are extremely suitable processors to implement filters, transforms, and many other signal-processing tasks. More importantly, they are flexible. When a more efficient coding scheme is discovered or a new coding standard is issued, DSPs can be used immediately for implementation.

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