Digital Signal Processors

By Bernhard Rinner

Digital signal processors (DSPs) can be found in many devices such as mobile phones, PDAs and digital cameras. Their fields of application are ubiquitous ranging from control and measurement to audio and video processing.
This lecture deals with the concepts of modern digital signal processors. It covers main topics of micro processor architectures, focuses on the characteristic features of DSP and presents up-to-date processors and development methods for DSP systems. Various case studies are presented during this lecture.
The lecture is complemented by a dedicated lab course.

  1. Introduction to microprocessors
  2. Fundamentals of DSPs
  3. Development of DSP systems
  4. Examples of DSPs
  5. DSP programming
  6. DSP applications and case studies

The course takes place in the winter term and has two teaching units per week. Please check the AAU Campus site for details on schedule and lecture rooms.

Prerequisites and Related Courses

This course is primarily indented for master students in information and communications engineering or computer science and PhD students in engineering. The course aims to cover the key technologies and methods found in modern microprocessors, with a special focus on digitial signal processors and embedded processors. Participants should have passed (bachelor) courses on computer organization/computer architecture, digitial circuits, signal processing and programming. This course is included in the catalogue “ICE: Supplements”.

Related (master) courses include sensor networks (Rinner), wireless networks (Bettstetter), pervasive computing (Rinner) and fundamentals of image processing lab.


The course material is available via the links below. Most of the documents are passwort protected. The passwort will be provided for enrolled students at the beginning of the course.

Student Presentations

The list of potential topics can be found here.

Topic assignment for student presentations (PDF). The following presentations are scheduled for January 12, 2017:


There is a written exam at the end of the semester. No documents are allowed.
Sample exam (PDF)
The overall grade is composed by the written exam (75%) and the student presentation (25%). The student presentation is compulsory.


1. Introduction to Microprocessors

Fundamentals of Microprocessors; Performance of Microprocessors; Data path Implementation; Examples of Processors; Memory System; Cache Memory; Direct Memory Transfer

2. Fundamentals of Digital Signal Processors

Basics Signal Processing Systems; Features of Digital Signal Processors; DSP Implementations; Power Management

3.Development of DSP Systems

Development Process and Code Generation; Design Challenges; Data Flow Models; SW-Architecture for DSP

4.Commercial DSPs

Performance Criteria; Examples of Commercial DSPs (Texas Instruments; Other manufacturers); Alternative Platforms (FPGAs, GPUs)

5. DSP Programming

(Potential) Programming Platform DSK C6713; Some Programming Hints; Architecture; File formants