The design of a high-performance, floating-point embedded system for speech recognition and audio research purposes

Duckitt, William (2008-03)

Thesis (MScEng (Electrical and Electronic Engineering))--Stellenbosch University, 2008.


This thesis describes the design of a high performance, floating-point, standalone embedded system that is appropriate for speech and audio processing purposes. The system successfully employs the Analog Devices TigerSHARC TS201 600MHz floating point digital signal processor as a CPU, and includes 512MB RAM, a Compact Flash storage card interface as non-volatile memory, a multi-channel audio input and output system with two programmable microphone preamplifiers offering up to 65dB gain, a USB interface, a LCD display and a push-button user interface. An Altera Cyclone II FPGA is used to interface the CPU with the various peripheral components. The FIFO buffers within the FPGA allow bulk DMA transfers of audio data for minimal processor delays. Similar approaches are taken for communication with the USB interface, the Compact Flash storage card and the LCD display. A logic analyzer interface allows system debugging via the FPGA. This interface can also in future be used to interface to additional components. The power distribution required a total of 11 different supplies to be provided with a total consumption of 16.8W. A 6 layer PCB incorporating 4 signal layers, a power plane and ground plane was designed for the final prototype. All system components were verified to be operating correctly by means of appropriate testing software, and the computational performance was measured by repeated calculation of a multi-dimensional Gaussian log-probability and found to be comparable with an Intel 1.8GHz Core2Duo processor. The design can therefore be considered a success, and the prototype is ready for development of suitable speech or audio processing software.

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