The Project Selection Process Pt.2

Continued from Part 1.

We left off last time with me realizing I wouldn't be able to implement my video scalar. Someday though it will still happen, but it'll live in the projects list at 0% for quite a while I imagine.

My next idea came to me from another class I am taking this term, Systems and Signals in Continuous Time. I hadn't expected to enjoy this class, since I thought it was going to be another analog class in the same vein as circuits 1 and 2 at PCC, but it really surprised me. It is almost entirely about systems and signals in the abstract, I also had a fantastic professor, Professor Mari Ostendorf.

My idea was to create a real time FFT. I wanted to be able to plug in a music source, like my iPhone, and have it show frequency content, in bars, on a monitor. I knew going into this that there would be several road blocks to my success, but I was confident they would be surmountable.

The first was that I have not yet taken the discrete time version of the systems and signals class. This means I have not learned about the DFT or the FFT at all. I have only learned about the Fourier Transform in continuous time. The second is that I have not learned how to design digital circuits to manipulate floating point numbers, we only know how to do integer math, and even with that we've only explicitly learned how to do addition, though subtraction and multiplication are relatively simple offshoots of that.

This is when my work began in earnest. I only had 3 weeks or so till the final project was due at this point and I needed to start making progress. I began reading about the DFT/FFT and how they worked. I also started googling for means of performing the FFT using only integer math. This originally seemed very fruitful. I found several papers detailing means of doing the FFT using integer math and without the use of multipliers. As academic papers are though, they were incredibly dense and lacking in actual implementation details. They also had decidedly non-integer numbers in them. I would follow them up until they started talking about decimal numbers. I even went to Professor Ostendorf's office hours to see if she would be willing to help me out without using up too much of her time. She was very helpful, and went over several papers with me over the course of half an hour or so, but not enough progress was made, and I did not want to use up anymore of her time.

Long story short, the real time FFT idea had to go out the window as well. It will also be returning though! hopefully some progress will be made on this front during winter break!

check in next time to see what project was actually chosen.