4 Technology Review

4.1 Introduction

The technology used for DSP implementation is very strongly linked to the astonishing developments in silicon technology. As was highlighted in the introduction to this book, the availability of a transistor which has continually decreased in cost has been the major driving force in creating new markets and has overseen the development of a number of DSP technologies. Silicon technology has offered an increasingly cheaper platform, and has done so at higher speeds and at a lower power cost. This has inspired a number of core markets, such as computing, mobile telephony and digital TV.

As Chapter 2 clearly indicated, there are numerous advantages for digital systems, specifically guaranteed accuracy, essentially perfect reproducibility and better aging; these developments are seen as key to the continued realization of future systems. The earliest DSP filter circuits were pioneered by Leland B. Jackson and colleagues at Bell Laboratories in the late 1960s and early 1970s (see Jackson 1970). At that time, the main aim was to create silicon chips to perform basic functions such as FIR and IIR filtering. A key aspect was the observation that the binary operation of the transistor was well matched to digital operations required in DSP systems.

From these early days, a number of technologies emerged, ranging from simple microcontrollers which can process systems with sampling rates typically in the moderate kilohertz range, right through to dedicated ...

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