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Digital Signal Processing 2

# Digital Signal Processing 2

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The Scientist and Engineer's Guide to Digital Signal Processing Second Edition
by Steven W. Smith
The Scientist and Engineer's Guide to Digital Signal Processing Second Edition
by Steven W. Smith

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02/20/2013

107
CHAPTER
6
Convolution
Convolution is a mathematical way of combining two signals to form a third signal. It is thesingle most important technique in Digital Signal Processing. Using the strategy of impulsedecomposition, systems are described by a signal called the
impulse response
. Convolution isimportant because it relates the three signals of interest: the input signal, the output signal, andthe impulse response. This chapter presents convolution from two different viewpoints, calledthe input side algorithm and the output side algorithm. Convolution provides the mathematicalframework for DSP; there is nothing more important in this book.
The Delta Function and Impulse Response
The previous chapter describes how a signal can be decomposed into a groupof components called
impulses
. An impulse is a signal composed of all zeros,except a single nonzero point. In effect, impulse decomposition provides a wayto analyze signals one sample at a time. The previous chapter also presentedthe fundamental concept of DSP: the input signal is decomposed into simpleadditive components, each of these components is passed through a linearsystem, and the resulting output components are synthesized (added). Thesignal resulting from this divide-and-conquer procedure is identical to thatobtained by directly passing the original signal through the system. Whilemany different decompositions are possible, two form the backbone of signalprocessing: impulse decomposition and Fourier decomposition. When impulsedecomposition is used, the procedure can be described by a mathematicaloperation called
convolution
. In this chapter (and most of the following ones)we will only be dealing with
discrete
signals. Convolution also applies to
continuous
signals, but the mathematics is more complicated. We will look athow continious signals are processed in Chapter 13.Figure 6-1 defines two important terms used in DSP. The first is the
deltafunction
, symbolized by the Greek letter delta, . The delta function is
**
[
n
]
a
normalized
impulse, that is, sample number zero has a value of one, while

The Scientist and Engineer's Guide to Digital Signal Processing
108
all other samples have a value of zero. For this reason, the delta function isfrequently called the
unit impulse
.The second term defined in Fig. 6-1 is the
impulse response
. As the namesuggests, the impulse response is the signal that exits a system when a deltafunction (unit impulse) is the input. If two systems are different in any way,they will have different impulse responses. Just as the input and output signalsare often called and , the impulse response is usually given the
x
[
n
]
y
[
n
]
symbol, . Of course, this can be changed if a more descriptive name is
h
[
n
]
available, for instance, might be used to identify the impulse response of
f
[
n
]
a
filter
.Any impulse can be represented as a
shifted
and
scaled
delta function.Consider a signal, , composed of all zeros except sample number 8,
a
[
n
]
which has a value of -3. This is the same as a delta function shifted to theright by 8 samples, and multiplied by -3. In equation form:. Make sure you understand this notation, it is used in
a
[
n
]
' &
3
*
[
n
&
8]
nearly all DSP equations.If the input to a system is an impulse, such as , what is the system's
&
3
*
[
n
&
8]
output? This is where the properties of homogeneity and shift invariance areused. Scaling and shifting the input results in an identical scaling and shiftingof the output. If results in , it follows that results in
*
[
n
]
h
[
n
]
&
3
*
[
n
&
8]
. In words, the output is a version of the impulse response that has
&
3
h
[
n
&
8]
been
shifted
and
scaled
by the same amount as the delta function on the input.If you know a system's impulse response, you immediately know how it willreact to
any
impulse.
Convolution
Let's summarize this way of understanding how a system changes an inputsignal into an output signal. First, the input signal can be decomposed into aset of impulses, each of which can be viewed as a scaled and shifted deltafunction. Second, the output resulting from each impulse is a scaled and shiftedversion of the impulse response. Third, the overall output signal can be foundby adding these scaled and shifted impulse responses. In other words, if weknow a system's impulse response, then we can calculate what the output willbe for any possible input signal. This means we know
everything
about thesystem. There is nothing more that can be learned about a linear system'scharacteristics. (However, in later chapters we will show that this informationcan be represented in different forms).The impulse response goes by a different name in some applications. If thesystem being considered is a
filter
, the impulse response is called the
filterkernel
, the
convolution kernel
, or simply, the
kernel
. In image processing,the impulse response is called the
. While these termsare used in slightly different ways, they all mean the same thing, the signalproduced by a system when the input is a delta function.

Chapter 6- Convolution
109
System
-2-10123456-1012
-2-10123456-1012
*
[n]h[n]DeltaImpulseResponseLinearFunction
FIGURE 6-1Definition of
delta function
and
impulse response
. The delta function is a normalized impulse. All of its samples have a value of zero, except for sample number zero, which has a value of one. The Greek letter delta, , is used to identify the delta function. The
impulse response
of a linear system, usually
*
[
n
]
denoted by , is the output of the system when the input is a delta function.
h
[
n
]
x[n] h[n] = y[n]x[n]y[n]LinearSystemh[n]
FIGURE 6-2How convolution is used in DSP. Theoutput signal from a linear system isequal to the input signal
convolved
with the system's impulse response.Convolution is denoted by a star whenwriting equations.
Convolution is a formal mathematical operation, just as multiplication,addition, and integration. Addition takes two
numbers
and produces a third
number
, while convolution takes two
signals
and produces a third
signal
.Convolution is used in the mathematics of many fields, such as probability andstatistics. In linear systems, convolution is used to describe the relationshipbetween three signals of interest: the input signal, the impulse response, and theoutput signal.Figure 6-2 shows the notation when convolution is used with linear systems.An input signal, , enters a linear system with an impulse response, ,
x
[
n
]
h
[
n
]
resulting in an output signal, . In equation form: .
y
[
n
]
x
[
n
]
t
h
[
n
]
'
y
[
n
]
Expressed in words, the input signal convolved with the impulse response isequal to the output signal. Just as addition is represented by the plus, +, andmultiplication by the cross, ×, convolution is represented by the star,
t
. It isunfortunate that most programming languages also use the star to indicatemultiplication. A star in a computer program means multiplication, while a starin an equation means convolution.