SPTK: Linear Time-Invariant Systems

Previous SPTK Post: The Fourier Transform         Next SPTK Post: Frequency Response

In this Signal Processing Toolkit post, we’ll take a first look at arguably the most important class of system models: linear time-invariant (LTI) systems.

What do signal processors and engineers mean by system? Most generally, a system is a rule or mapping that associates one or more input signals to one or more output signals. As we did with signals, we discuss here various useful dichotomies that break up the set of all systems into different subsets with important properties–important to mathematical analysis as well as to design and implementation. Then we’ll look at time-domain input/output relationships for linear systems. In a future post we’ll look at the properties of linear systems in the frequency domain.

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SPTK: The Fourier Transform

Previous SPTK Post: The Fourier Series      Next SPTK Post: Linear Systems

This post in the Signal Processing Toolkit series deals with a key mathematical tool in CSP: The Fourier transform. Let’s try to see how the Fourier transform arises from a limiting version of the Fourier series.

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SPTK: The Fourier Series

Previous SPTK Post: Signal Representations            Next SPTK Post: The Fourier Transform

This installment of the Signal Processing Toolkit shows how the Fourier series arises from a consideration of representing arbitrary signals as vectors in a signal space. We also provide several examples of Fourier series calculations, interpret the Fourier series, and discuss its relevance to cyclostationary signal processing.

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Signal Processing Toolkit: Signals

This is the inaugural post of a new series of posts I’m calling the Signal Processing Toolkit (SPTK).  The SPTK posts will cover relatively simple topics in signal processing that are useful in the practice of cyclostationary signal processing. So, they are not CSP posts, but CSP practitioners need to know this material to be successful in CSP. The CSP Blog is branching out! (But don’t worry, there are more CSP posts coming too.)

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Can a Machine Learn a Power Spectrum Estimator?

I continue with my foray into machine learning (ML) by considering whether we can use widely available ML tools to create a machine that can output accurate power spectrum estimates. Previously we considered the perhaps simpler problem of learning the Fourier transform. See here and here.

Along the way I’ll expose my ignorance of the intricacies of machine learning and my apparent inability to find the correct hyperparameter settings for any problem I look at. But, that’s where you come in, dear reader. Let me know what to do!

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Data Set for the Machine-Learning Challenge

Update July 2020. I originally posted 20,000 signals in the posted data set. I’ve now added another 92,000 for a total of 112,000 signals. The original signals are contained in Batches 1-5, the additional signals in Batches 6-28. I’ve placed these additional Batches at the end of the post to preserve the original post’s content.

I’ve posted 20000 PSK/QAM signals to the CSP Blog. These are the signals I refer to in the post I wrote challenging the machine-learners. In this brief post, I provide links to the data and describe how to interpret the text file containing the signal-type labels and signal parameters.

Overview of Data Set

The 20,000 signals are stored in five zip files, each containing 4000 individual signal files:

Batch 1

Batch 2

Batch 3

Batch 4

Batch 5

The zip files are each about 1 GB in size.

The modulation-type labels for the signals, such as “BPSK” or “MSK,” are contained in the zipped text file:


Each signal file is stored in a binary format involving interleaved real and imaginary parts, which I call ‘.tim’ files. You can read a .tim file into MATLAB using read_binary.m. Or use the code inside read_binary.m to write your own data-reader; the format is quite simple.

The Label and Parameter File

Let’s look at the format of the truth/label file. The first line of signal_record_first_20000.txt is

1 bpsk  11  -7.4433467080e-04  9.8977795076e-01  10  9  5.4532617590e+00  0.0

which comprises 9 fields. All temporal and spectral parameters (times and frequencies) are normalized with respect to the sampling rate. In other words, the sampling rate can be taken to be unity in this data set. These fields are described in the following list:

  1. Signal index. In the case above this is `1′ and that means the file containing the signal is called signal_1.tim. In general, the nth signal is contained in the file signal_n.tim. The Batch 1 zip file contains signal_1.tim through signal_4000.tim.
  2. Signal type. A string indicating the modulation format of the signal in the file. For this data set, I’ve only got eight modulation types: BPSK, QPSK, 8PSK, \pi/4-DQPSK, 16QAM, 64QAM, 256QAM, and MSK. These are denoted by the strings bpsk, qpsk, 8psk, dqpsk, 16qam, 64qam, 256qam, and msk, respectively.
  3. Base symbol period. In the example above (line one of the truth file), the base symbol period is T_0 = 11.
  4. Carrier offset. In this case, it is -7.4433467080\times 10^{-4}.
  5. Excess bandwidth. The excess bandwidth parameter, or square-root raised-cosine roll-off parameter, applies to all of the signal types except MSK. Here it is 9.8977795076\times 10^{-1}. It can be any real number between 0.1 and 1.0.
  6. Upsample factor. The sixth field is an upsampling parameter U.
  7. Downsample factor. The seventh field is a downsampling parameter D. The actual symbol rate of the signal in the file is computed from the base symbol period, upsample factor, and downsample factor: \displaystyle f_{sym} = (1/T_0)*(D/U). So the BPSK signal in signal_1.tim has rate 0.08181818. If the downsample factor is zero in the truth-parameters file, no resampling was done to the signal.
  8. Inband SNR (dB). The ratio of the signal power to the noise power within the signal’s bandwidth, taking into account the signal type and the excess bandwidth parameter.
  9. Noise spectral density (dB). It is always 0 dB. So the various SNRs are generated by varying the signal power.

To ensure that you have correctly downloaded and interpreted my data files, I’m going to provide some PSD plots and a couple of the actual sample values for a couple of the files.


The line from the truth file is:

1 bpsk  11  -7.4433467080e-04  9.8977795076e-01  10  9  5.4532617590e+00  0.0

The first ten samples of the file are:

-5.703014e-02   -6.163056e-01
-1.285231e-01   -6.318392e-01
6.664069e-01    -7.007506e-02
7.731103e-01    -1.164615e+00
3.502680e-01    -1.097872e+00
7.825349e-01    -3.721564e-01
1.094809e+00    -3.123962e-01
4.146149e-01    -5.890701e-01
1.444665e+00    7.358724e-01
-2.217039e-01   -1.305001e+00

An FSM-based PSD estimate for signal_1.tim is:


And the blindly estimated cycle frequencies (using the SSCA) are:


The previous plot corresponds to the numerical values:

Non-conjugate (\alpha, C, S):

8.181762695e-02  7.480e-01  5.406e+00

Conjugate (\alpha, C, S):

8.032470942e-02  7.800e-01  4.978e+00
-1.493096002e-03  8.576e-01  1.098e+01
-8.331298083e-02  7.090e-01  5.039e+00


The line from the truth file is

4000 256qam  9  8.3914849139e-04  7.2367959637e-01  9  8  1.0566301192e+01  0.0

which means the symbol rate is given by (1/9)*(8/9) = 0.09876543209. The carrier offset is 0.000839 and the excess bandwidth is 0.723. Because the signal type is 256QAM, it has a single (non-zero) non-conjugate cycle frequency of 0.098765 and no conjugate cycle frequencies. But the square of the signal has cycle frequencies related to the quadrupled carrier:


Final Thoughts

Is 20000 waveforms a large enough data set? Maybe not. I have generated tens of thousands more, but will not post until there is a good reason to do so. And that, my friends, is up to you!

That’s about it. I think that gives you enough information to ensure that you’ve interpreted the data and the labels correctly. What remains is experimentation, machine-learning or otherwise I suppose. Please get back to me and the readers of the CSP Blog with any interesting results using the Comments section of this post or the Challenge post.

For my analysis of a commonly used machine-learning modulation-recognition data set (RML), see the All BPSK Signals post.

Additional Batches of Signals:

Batch 6

Batch 7

Batch 8

Batch 9

Batch 10

Batch 11

Batch 12

Batch 13

Batch 14

Batch 15

Batch 16

Batch 17

Batch 18

Batch 19

Batch 20

Batch 21

Batch 22

Batch 23

Batch 24

Batch 25

Batch 26

Batch 27

Batch 28

Signal parameters text file

MATLAB’s SSCA: commP25ssca.m

In this short post, I describe some errors that are produced by MATLAB’s strip spectral correlation analyzer function commP25ssca.m. I don’t recommend that you use it; far better to create your own function.

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CSP Estimators: The FFT Accumulation Method

Let’s look at another spectral correlation function estimator: the FFT Accumulation Method (FAM). This estimator is in the time-smoothing category, is exhaustive in that it is designed to compute estimates of the spectral correlation function over its entire principal domain, and is efficient, so that it is a competitor to the Strip Spectral Correlation Analyzer (SSCA) method. I implemented my version of the FAM by using the paper by Roberts et al (The Literature [R4]). If you follow the equations closely, you can successfully implement the estimator from that paper. The tricky part, as with the SSCA, is correctly associating the outputs of the coded equations to their proper \displaystyle (f, \alpha) values.

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‘Can a Machine Learn the Fourier Transform?’ Redux, Plus Relevant Comments on a Machine-Learning Paper by M. Kulin et al.

I first considered whether a machine (neural network) could learn the (64-point, complex-valued)  Fourier transform in this post. I used MATLAB’s Neural Network Toolbox and I failed to get good learning results because I did not properly set the machine’s hyperparameters. A kind reader named Vito Dantona provided a comment to that original post that contained good hyperparameter selections, and I’m going to report the new results here in this post.

Since the Fourier transform is linear, the machine should be set up to do linear processing. It can’t just figure that out for itself. Once I used Vito’s suggested hyperparameters to force the machine to be linear, the results became much better:

Continue reading “‘Can a Machine Learn the Fourier Transform?’ Redux, Plus Relevant Comments on a Machine-Learning Paper by M. Kulin et al.”

Can a Machine Learn the Fourier Transform?

Update: See Part 2 of this post at this link. If you want to leave on comment, leave it on Part 2. Comments closed on this Part 1 post.

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Creating a Simple CS Signal: Rectangular-Pulse BPSK

To test the correctness of various CSP estimators, we need a sampled signal with known cyclostationary parameters. Additionally, the signal should be easy to create and understand. A good candidate for this kind of signal is the binary phase-shift keyed (BPSK) signal with rectangular pulse function.

PSK signals with rectangular pulse functions have infinite bandwidth because the signal bandwidth is determined by the Fourier transform of the pulse, which is a sinc() function for the rectangular pulse. So the rectangular pulse is not terribly practical–infinite bandwidth is bad for other users of the spectrum. However, it is easy to generate, and its statistical properties are known.

So let’s jump in. The baseband BPSK signal is simply a sequence of binary (\pm 1) symbols convolved with the rectangular pulse. The MATLAB script make_rect_bpsk.m does this and produces the following plot:


The signal alternates between amplitudes of +1 and -1 randomly. After frequency shifting and adding white Gaussian noise, we obtain the power spectrum estimate:


The power spectrum plot shows why the rectangular-pulse BPSK signal is not popular in practice. The range of frequencies for which the signal possesses non-zero average power is infinite, so it will interfere with signals “nearby” in frequency. However, it is a good signal for us to use as a test input in all of our CSP algorithms and estimators.

The MATLAB script that creates the BPSK signal and the plots above is here. It is an m-file but I’ve stored it in a .doc file due to WordPress limitations I can’t yet get around.