Course/Lab Material for Teaching DSP


Digital Signal Processing (DSP) Education Kit  

The explosion of digital data in today’s world means it is crucial for students to understand and practice how to manage and process digital signals that come in from a wide variety of sources.  The ARM University Program is addressing this need with the creation of our Digital Signal Processing (DSP) Education Kit.  This Education Kit is powered by ARM Cortex-M4-based microcontrollers, which enable high performance yet energy-efficient digital signal processing at a very affordable price. By reducing the barrier of entry with the introduction of these low cost development boards, the DSP Education Kit will allow students to practice theory with advanced hardware.

Central to the DSP Education Kit a full set of teaching materials including power point slides, lab manuals with solutions to professors, quizzes with answers and more, which can be readily used in a typical 10-12 week course. The teaching materials cover both fundamentals and practical knowledge. State-of-the-art hardware platforms are harnessed in the labs to support the course’s learning outcomes. These use the industry-standard Keil MDK-ARM tool for application development.

DSP courses have traditionally used software simulation packages, or hands-on labs using relatively expensive development kits.  The prohibitive costs associated with deploying such equipment in laboratories means that many students will miss out on educational benefits of using this hardware in real-world situations.  Our cost effective kit includes hardware boards donated by partners (sub $50.00), software licenses from ARM and a complete set of teaching materials—all available to professors worldwide (subject to a qualification process).

Course aims:

  • The course aims to produce students who are capable of designing DSP systems and creating commercially-viable audio applications using high-performance and energy-efficient ARM processors

Learning outcomes:

  • Knowledge and understanding of:
    • DSP basic concepts such as sampling, reconstruction and aliasing
    • Fundamental filtering algorithms such as FIR, IIR, FFT
    • ARM-based microcontrollers as  low-power DSP computing platforms 
    • Software programming  basics and principles
  • Intellectual
    • Ability to choose between different DSP algorithms for different applications
    • Ability to use different design methods to achieve better results
    • Ability to evaluate experimental results (e.g. quality, speed, power) and correlate them with the corresponding designing and programing techniques
  • Practical
    • Ability to implement DSP algorithms and design methods on ARM-based microcontrollers
    • Ability to use commercial hardware and software tools to develop real-time DSP application


  • Basics C programing 
  • Elementary mathematics


The course consists of a number of modules sufficient to run a typical term course on DSP with lecture notes in PPT format, homework with solutions, demonstration code, lab exercises with solution, and programming projects with solutions.  As with all our courseware, the DSP Education Kit is has been created with learning outcomes in mind.  The materials will inspire deep learning as well as contain modules that are fun and interactive, thereby re-enforcing theoretical principles.

The course starts with DSP basics such as discrete time signal sampling, reconstruction and aliasing, and fundamental concepts about Fourier and Z-Transform, time and frequency domains. It then presents the most commonly used filters, i.e. FIR, IIR and their design methods. Finally it introduces the Fast Fourier Transform and how it can be effectively employed in making adaptive filters for performing noise cancellations on an audio signal (e.g. the voice of an airline pilot amidst the aircraft engine noise in the background). In the lab exercises, audio signals are used for demonstrating the DSP concepts in real-time, using various examples such as generating artificial sounds, applying different filtering effects to human voice, and using noise cancellation to increase the SNR thus improve the audio quality.   

View Table of Contents


This kit is available on a variety of low cost, high performance and low power hardware platforms from the vast ARM eco-system. To access samples of our teaching materials or to make a full donation request please click on the donation request below.  


The ARM University Program recommends the following development boards for teaching Digital Signal Processing (DSP):

You can purchase these boards from Digikey and view our accompanying teaching materials

Board Processor Clock Frequency RAM ROM Peripherals Components Other Details

Cypress FM4 Starter Kit

ARM Cortex-M4 200 MHz 256 KB + 16MB (on-board) 2MB Flash +
32MB (on-board)

USB, Quad SPI, I2S,

Button, 3-axis Accelerometer,
Wolfson WM8731 audio CODEC,
Head-phone, Microphone and
Line-In jacks

ST STM32F4 Discovery Board

ARM Cortex-M4

168 MHz

192 KB

1MB Flash


3-axis accelerometer,
Audio sensor,
Digital microphone,
Audio DAC, Eight LEDs

Wolfson Audio Card


4.5mW Power DAC,
Control Sequencer For Pop-Free Start-Up
& Shut-Down Compatible with
Raspberry Pi Model B/A

NXP LPC4088 Quickstart Board

ARM Cortex-M4 120 MHz

96 KB SRAM (on chip) +

512 KB on-chip

Analogue comparator,
UART, Ethernet, DMA

USB host/device,
mbed enabled

NXP LPC4088 Experiment Base Board


Audio codec, Microphone,
Stereo line in/out,
Headphone, UART, LED,
Joystick, Temperature sensor,
3-axis accelerometer,
Trimming potentiometer,
mbed enabled

Freescale FRDM-K64F Board

ARM Cortex-M4 120MHz 256 KB 1 MB Flash GPIO, ADC, DAC,
Analogue comparator,
Accelerometer, RGB LED,
Magnetometer, Button,
SDHC, Ethernet
mbed enabled,
Arduino R3 compatible


Development Tools for Microcontrollers

ARM/Keil Microcontroller Development Kit (MDK-ARM) is available now for free for qualified universities. It features the industry-standard compiler from ARM, the Keil µVision IDE, and sophisticated debug and data trace capabilities. MDK-ARM offers tailored support for all Cortex-M processor-based devices, and is the recommended solution for students working with standard ARM-based MCU devices. We suggest that students and universities download the free evaluation version of the tools, which offers all the features of the standard version, but with a 32K byte object code/data limit. Keil Microcontroller Development Kit (MDK-ARM)

Keil Microcontroller Development Kit (MDK-ARM)

Development Tools for Cortex-A Processors

ARM Development Studio 5 (DS-5) is available now for free for qualified universities. DS-5 makes it easy to develop applications for ARM applications processors. It reduces your learning curve, shortens the development and testing cycle, and helps you build reliable applications quickly.

Download ARM Development Studio 5 (DS-5)

The ARM University Program recommends the following textbook for teaching Digital Signal Processing (DSP):

Accompanying teaching materials


Digital Signal Processing and Applications Using the ARM Cortex M4

In English, by Donald Reay
Published by Wiley-Blackwell

ISBN-10: 1118859049
ISBN-13: 978-1118859049


Other Resources:

Digital Signal Processing: A Practical Guide for Engineers and Scientists (IDC Technology)

In English, by Steven Smith
Published by Newnes

ISBN-10: 075067444X
ISBN-13: 978-0750674447


The Definitive Guide to ARM Cortex-M3 and Cortex-M4 Processors, Third Edition

In English, by Joseph Yiu
Published by Newnes

ISBN-10: 0124080820
ISBN-13: 978-0124080829


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