DSP - Digital Signal Processing Design

What is DSP - Digital Signal Processing Design?

DSP or Digital Signal Processing is the science of using computers to interpret digital patterns that exist everywhere in technology today. DSP applications have shaped the development of technology since the 1960s essential to the development of radar, sonar and space exploration. DSP applications analyze and interpret digital patterns or signals and mathematically manipulate them. Today, DSP is involved in both the implementation and growth throughout countless market applications including: oil exploration, medical imaging, audio and speech processing, digital image and video processing, mobile and telecommunications and much more. For scientists and engineers, DSP is a basic skill in many fields and almost every field that utilizes it has developed deep DSP technology with their own application specialized techniques, specific algorithms and mathematics.


Digital signal processing is one of the primary design applications for FPGAs in the market today. While FPGAs have been used in DSP applications for years, they have been gaining considerable traction in high performance applications because of their versatility and speed over traditional processors like microcontrollers. FPGAs provide tremendous computational throughput by using highly parallel architectures, and are hardware reconfigurable; allowing the designer to develop customized architectures for ideal implementation of their algorithms. Additionally, high performance DSP applications have required higher and higher levels of precision that FPGAs are capable of bringing to the table. Read more about Xilinx DSP Platforms

Xilinx DSP Solutions

Xilinx features DSP boards and kits for a variety of design and pricing needs. Within each product family Xilinx offers DSP-optimized sub-families that deliver the right balance of high-performance logic, serial connectivity and signal processing capabilities as part of the XtremeDSP™ DSP platform portfolio. The Xilinx DSP platform initiative helps you develop tailored high performance DSP solutions for aerospace and defense, medical, automotive, digital communications, multimedia, video, and imaging industries with new Spartan-6 FPGA DSP kit and the Virtex-6 FPGA DSP kit developed with Avnet, MathWorks, Texas Instruments and 4DSP. Xilinx DSP design products boast “Design Right out of the Box” including everything you need to speed up your design and development processes.

Getting Started with FPGAs for DSP

Xilinx FPGA DSP kits help designers to quickly begin prototyping their applications on Xilinx FPGAs. Each kit comes with a step-by-step hardware and software setup guide that minimizes setup time. A graphical user interface is provided that guides new users through the three steps to getting started, namely:

  1. Verify the working hardware by downloading and executing a precompiled design onto the development board.
  2. Verify the working development tool flow by providing a step-by-step guide to recompiling the reference design using the ISE Design Suite: System Device. Locked Edition and System Generator for DSP.
  3. Provide instruction in DSP design through tutorials that extend the functionality of the reference design to show real-world design methodology.
Each of these phases helps new users build confidence in the supplied hardware, tool flow, and design methodology. By doing so, users are provided a solid foundation of experience that can be leveraged to begin building DSP applications. Xilinx also offers a comprehensive DSP design training curriculum to accelerate your time to market. Contact your local Sales Rep or Authorized Training Provider to see if your company has any Training Credits available.

Easing Adoption of FPGAs for Users New to Xilinx

Adoption of FPGAs for DSP is simplified for new users by supporting high-level design methodologies that do not require RTL design experience. Each kit comes with the ISE Design Suite: System Device Locked Edition, which includes System Generator for DSP. This software enables the use of the DSP-friendly MATLAB/Simulink software modeling environment for FPGA design. System Generator includes over one hundred DSP building blocks optimized by Xilinx that can be used to quickly create highly efficient DSP designs. The blocks also abstract users from the details of FPGA implementation by automatically generating and downloading the FPGA programming file from the Simulink software models. Several step-by-step tutorials are included enabling new users to quickly begin designing FPGAs. Xilinx also offers multitudes of DSP IP which maximizes design flexibility and reduces risk, dramatically reduces development time and accelerates time to market. The Mathworks offers multiple training courses on MATLAB and Simulink for new to advanced users.

DSP Design Training

Instructor-led Courses

How to Design a Xilinx Digital Signal Processing System in 1 Day - Released March 2011

The workshop introduces you to fundamental DSP concepts, algorithms, and techniques for implementation in Xilinx FPGAs. Design examples and labs are drawn from several common applications spaces, including wireless communications, video, and imaging.
Only essential theory is introduced in order to lay a foundation for the material and topics covered in this workshop, which complements more detailed training found in subsequent Xilinx courses - Read More

DSP - Digital Signal Processing Design Using System Generator - Updated March 2011

This course allows you to explore the System Generator tool and to gain the expertise you need to develop advanced, low-cost Digital Signal Processing designs. This intermediate course in implementing DSP functions focuses on learning how to use System Generator for DSP, design implementation tools, and hardware co-simulation verification. - Test Your Knowledge

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Essential DSP Implementation Techniques for Xilinx FPGAs - Released May 2010

This course provides a foundation for Digital Signal Processing (DSP) techniques for Xilinx FPGAs. The course begins with a refresher of basic binary number theory, mathematics, and the essential features within the FPGA that are important to signal processing. The body of the course explores a variety of filter techniques with emphasis on optimal implementation in Xilinx devices and continues with an examination of FFTs, video, and image processing. - Test Your Knowledge

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MATLAB & Simulink Training - Offered by The Mathworks

MATLAB® Fundamentals is a two-day course that provides a working introduction to the MATLAB technical computing environment. This course is intended for beginning and intermediate users, though even experienced users will benefit from seeing MATLAB used by professional MathWorks trainers. No prior knowledge of MATLAB is required.

Simulink® for Signal Processing is a two-day fundamental course for signal processing engineers who are new to system and algorithm modeling and design in Simulink. Through basic modeling techniques and tools, it shows how to develop Simulink block diagrams.

DSP Design Videos

Play Video Getting Started with System Generator
Learn how to create a DSP design that includes memories and control using Simulink and implement that design into a Xilinx FPGA, design highly efficient FIR filters for Xilinx device architectures, and define fixed-point numeric precision abstractly using the Xilinx DSP blockset. More

Download Lab Files (1.2MB zip)