Dealing With Fixed Point Fractions
Fixed point fractional representation always gives me a headache because I screw it up the first time I try to implement an algorithm. The difference between integer operations and fractional operations is in the overflow. If the representation fits in the fixed point result, you can not tell the difference between fixed point integer and fixed point fractions. When integers overflow, they lose data off the most significant bits. When fractions overflow, they lose data off...
Mathematics and Cryptography
The mathematics of number theory and elliptic curves can take a life time to learn because they are very deep subjects. As engineers we don't have time to earn PhD's in math along with all the things we have to learn just to make communications systems work. However, a little learning can go a long way to helping make our communications systems secure  we don't need to know everything. The following articles are broken down into two realms, number theory and elliptic...
Elliptic Curve Digital Signatures
A digital signature is used to prove a message is connected to a specific sender. The sender can not deny they sent that message once signed, and no one can modify the message and maintain the signature. The message itself is not necessarily secret. Certificates of authenticity, digital cash, and software distribution use digital signatures so recipients can verify they are getting what they paid for.
Since messages can be of any length and mathematical algorithms always use fixed...
Elliptic Curve Key Exchange
Elliptic Curve Cryptography is used to create a Public Key system that allows two people (or computers) to exchange public data so that both sides know a secret that no one else can find in a reasonable time. The simplest method uses a fixed public key for each person. Once cracked, every message ever sent with that key is open. More advanced key exchange systems have "perfect forward secrecy" which means that even if one message key is cracked, no other message will...
DiscreteTime PLLs, Part 1: Basics
Design Files: Part1.slx
Hi everyone,
In this series of tutorials on discretetime PLLs we will be focusing on PhaseLocked Loops that can be implemented in discretetime signal proessors such as FPGAs, DSPs and of course, MATLAB.
In the first part of the series, we will be reviewing the basics of continuoustime baseband PLLs and we will see some useful mathematics that will give us insight into the inners working of PLLs. In the second part, we will focus on...
Polynomial Inverse
One of the important steps of computing point addition over elliptic curves is a division of two polynomials. When working in $GF(2^n)$ we don't have large enough powers to actually do a division, so we compute the inverse of the denominator and then multiply. This is usually done using Euclid's method, but if squaring and multiplying are fast we can take advantage of these operations and compute the multiplicative inverse in just a few steps.
The first time I ran across this...
One Clock Cycle Polynomial Math
Error correction codes and cryptographic computations are most easily performed working with $GF(2^n)$ polynomials. By using very special values of $n$ we can build circuits which multiply and square in one clock cycle on an FPGA. These circuits come about by flipping back and forth between a standard polynomial basis and a normal basis representation of elements in $GF(2^n)$.
A normal basis is yet another form of polynomial but instead of adding powers of $\beta$ we add...
Elliptic Curve Cryptography
Secure online communications require encryption. One standard is AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) from NIST. But for this to work, both sides need the same key for encryption and decryption. This is called Private Key encryption. Public Key encryption is used to create a private key between two sides that have not previously communicated. Compared to the history of encryption, Public Key methods are very recent having been started in the 1970's. Elliptic...
An absolute position encoder VHDL core
IntroductionLet's consider motorized systems controlled by electronics. A closed loop architecture looks like this:
The following components are involved:
 the motor itself (DC, stepper ...),
 the controller, in charge of computing position according to the whole system state,
 the driver board in charge of generating signals and power for the motor,
 the position encoder, the subject of this post.
Most of the time, there is a difference between the position the system...
Helping New Bloggers to Break the Ice: A New Ipad Pro for the Author with the Best Article!
Breaking the ice can be tough. Over the years, many individuals have asked to be given access to the blogging interface only to never post an article. Maybe they underestimated the time it takes to write a decent article, or maybe they got cold feet. I don't blame or judge them at all  how many times in my life have I had the intention to do something but didn't follow through? Once, maybe twice 😉 (don't worry if you don't...
Embedded World 2018  More Videos!
After the interview videos last week, this week I am very happy to release two more videos taken at Embedded World 2018 and that I am proud of.
For both videos, I made extensive use of my two new toys, a Zhiyun Crane Gimbal and a Sony a6300 camera.
The use of a gimbal like the Zhiyun makes a big difference in terms of making the footage look much more stable and cinematographic.
As for the Sony camera, it takes fantastic slowmotion footage and...
Launch of Youtube Channel: My First Videos  Embedded World 2017
I went to Embedded World 2017 in Nuremberg with an ambitious plan; I would make video highlights of several exhibits (booths) to be presented to the *Related sites audience. I would try to make the vendors focus their pitch on the essential in order to produce a one to three minutes video per booth.
So far my experience with making videos was limited to family videos, so I knew I had lots of reading to do and lots of Youtube videos and tutorials to watch. Trade shows are...
PC and SP for a small CPU
Ok, let's make a small stackbased CPU.
I will start where the rubber meets the road  the PC/stack subsystem that I like referring to as the 'legs'. As usual, I will present a design with a twist.
Not having a large design team, deadlines and milliondollar fab runs when designing CPUs creates a truly different environment. I can actually sit at the kitchen table and doodle around with CPU designs to my heart's content. I can try really ridiculous approaches, and work without a...
Use Microprogramming to Save Resources and Increase Functionality
IntroductionMicroprogramming is a design approach that every FPGA designer should have in their bag of tricks. I subscribe to the concept that microprogramming is a structured approach to the design of state machines. This is essentially the view of Maurice Wilkes when he first proposed microprogramming in 1951 as an alternative method for the implementation of the control section of a computer. Wilkes was interested in improving the reliability and reducing time needed to implement...
Feedback Controllers  Making Hardware with Firmware. Part 4. Engineering of Evaluation Hardware
Following on from the previous abstract descriptions of an arbitrary circuit emulation application for lowlatency feedback controllers, we now come to some aspects in the hardware engineering of an evaluation design from concept to first powerup. In due course a complete specification along with application examples will be maintained on the project website. Part 1: Introduction
 Part 2:...
Sensors Expo  Trip Report & My Best Video Yet!
This was my first time at Sensors Expo and my second time in Silicon Valley and I must say I had a great time.
Before I share with you what I find to be, by far, my best 'highlights' video yet for a conference/trade show, let me try to entertain you with a few anecdotes from this trip. If you are not interested by my stories or maybe don't have the extra minutes needed to read them, please feel free to skip to the end of this blog post to watch the...
Recruiting New Bloggers!
Previous calls for bloggers have been very successful in recruiting some great communicators  Rick Lyons, Jason Sachs, Victor Yurkovsky, Mike Silva, Markus Nentwig, Gene Breniman, Stephen Friederichs,
StrangeCPU #4. Microcode
Summary:Sliding windows containing runs of microcode.
Table of Contents:
Part 1: A new CPU  technology review, reexamination of the premises; StrangeCPU concepts; x86 notes.

Part 2: SlidingWindow Token Machines, an indepth exploration of this curious technology; ARM notes.
Two jobs
For those of you following closely embeddedrelated and the other related sites, you might have noticed that I have been less active for the last couple of months, and I will use this blog post to explain why. The main reason is that I got myself involved into a project that ended up using a better part of my cpu than I originally thought it would.
edit  video of the event:
I currently have two jobs: one as an electrical/dsp engineer recycled as a web publisher and the other...
Live Streaming from Embedded World!
For those of you who won't be attending Embedded World this year, I will try to be your eyes and ears by video streaming live from the show floor.
I am not talking improvised streaming from a phone, but real, high quality HD streaming with a highend camera and a device that will bond three internet connections (one wifi and two cellular) to ensure a steady, and hopefully reliable, stream. All this to hopefully give those of you who cannot be there in person a virtual...
MyHDL FPGA Tutorial II cont. (Echo, Audio Interface)
IntroductionTo demonstrate the echo on an FPGA board an interface to an audio ADC/DAC chip will be used. The following will explain the connection to the audio codec and the HDL module used to interface.
Audio Codec InterfaceI have two boards with TI AIC23b audio codecs. The AIC23 has a configuration interface (ability to program the registers) and a streaming audio interface. The SPI mode will be used to configure the codec and the I2S interface is used to send and...
New Comments System (please help me test it)
I thought it would take me a day or two to implement, it took almost two weeks...
But here it is, the new comments systems for blogs, heavily inspired by the forum system I developed earlier this year.
Which means that:
 You can easily add images, either by drag and drop or through the 'Insert Image' button
 You can add MathML, TeX and ASCIImath equations and they will be rendered with Mathjax
 You can add code snippets and they will be highlighted with highlights.js
 You can edit...
The Spartans
The latest release of the Xilinx Spartan family is the Spartan6 line of FPGAs. It has been awhile since the last major Spartan released, the Spartan3, but this last year Xilinx released the Spartan6. The Xilinx Spartan family is the low cost FPGAs compared to the higher cost and high performance Virtex family. The Spartan family is derived from the Virtex architecture with some changes to reduce the cost. The Spartan3 FPGAs were derived from the VirtexII architecture. Since the Spartan3...
Finally got a drone!
As a reader of my blog, you already know that I have been making videos lately and thoroughly enjoying the process. When I was in Germany early this summer (and went 280 km/h in a porsche!) to produce SEGGER's 25th anniversary video, the company bought a drone so we could get an aerial shot of the party (at about the 1:35 mark in this video). Since then, I have been obsessing on buying a drone for myself and finally made the move a few weeks ago  I acquired a used DJI...
Computing FixedPoint Square Roots and Their Reciprocals Using Goldschmidt Algorithm
IntroductionA well known algorithm for computing square roots by iteration is provided by the NewtonRaphson Algorithm. The algorithm determines the square root using iteration until the root has been determined to some userdefined level of accuracy. The method is easily derived. First, describe a number in terms of its square root:
$$ a = y ^ {2} ,$$
where $y = \sqrt{a}$. The value of the $\sqrt{a}$ can be written as $y = y_0 + \epsilon$, where $y_0$ is the value of the square root and...
Running Average
The running average filter is a useful way to reduce noise in a system. One project I recently worked on required a 4 times frequency output from an encoder input. The problem was the encoder is mounted to the wheel of an old truck and bearing noise was making the original algorithm generate way too many pulses. The original algorithm worked, but the noise on the input made it useless.
I first implemented the moving average based on
Makefiles for Xilinx Tools
Building a bitstream from an HDL is a complicated process that requires the cooperation of a lot of tools. You can hide behind an IDE or grow a pair and use command line tools and a makefile to tie your build process together. I am not a huge fan of makefiles either (I believe a language should be expressive enough to automate the build process), but the alternatives are dismal.
Commandline driven workflow is easier on the hands and faster. The example...
Embedded World 2018  The Interviews
Once again this year, I had the chance to go to Embedded World in Nuremberg Germany. And once again this year, I brought my video equipment to try and capture some of the most interesting things at the show.
Something new this year, I asked Jacob Beningo if he would partner with me in doing interviews with a few vendors. I would operate the camera while Jacob would ask the right questions to the vendors to make them talk about the key products/features that...
Use Microprogramming to Save Resources and Increase Functionality
IntroductionMicroprogramming is a design approach that every FPGA designer should have in their bag of tricks. I subscribe to the concept that microprogramming is a structured approach to the design of state machines. This is essentially the view of Maurice Wilkes when he first proposed microprogramming in 1951 as an alternative method for the implementation of the control section of a computer. Wilkes was interested in improving the reliability and reducing time needed to implement...
Launch of Youtube Channel: My First Videos  Embedded World 2017
I went to Embedded World 2017 in Nuremberg with an ambitious plan; I would make video highlights of several exhibits (booths) to be presented to the *Related sites audience. I would try to make the vendors focus their pitch on the essential in order to produce a one to three minutes video per booth.
So far my experience with making videos was limited to family videos, so I knew I had lots of reading to do and lots of Youtube videos and tutorials to watch. Trade shows are...