“Discrete Time Signals and Systems” at edX by Richard Baraniuk

Attending “Discrete Time Signals and Systems” by Richard Baraniuk from Rice University was an awesome experience on many levels. Right after “Learning from Data” my second favorite MOOC so far. First of all the subject of extracting a signal from a discrete time series in terms of frequency composition is interesting by itself and provided a smooth opportunity for me to revise some of the math I studied many years ago. But this by itself wouldn’t make a learning experience that superb – what it takes for that is a teacher who knows how to get the knowledge across to the student. And in that regard – apart from the science itself – Richard is a master! It was obvious how much effort Baraniuk and his team put into designing the course. Every detail about the lectures and the exercises seemed superbially well crafted. And this is apparently not by chance – as after googling the professor’s name I found that he is actually something like a MOOC evangelist and very passionate about offering such an opportunity to the learners around the world.

The Course’s Content

The main part of the course took seven weeks progressively introducing new concepts:

  1. Introduction, Signals and Sampling
  2. Discrete Time Systems
  3. Discrete Fourier Transform
  4. Discrete-Time Fourier Transform
  5. Z-Transform
  6. Analysis and Design of Discrete-Time Filters
  7. Review, Final Case Study and Final Exam

Every week was finalized with a number of theoretical as well as practical programming exercises and every second week you had to tackle a case study about a given topic – like “Speech Analysis and Phoneme Identification”. The programming was done in Matlab, of course, and I hope next time its going to be Julia or Python. As a matter of fact I found out that R features a package for signal processing that offers pretty much all you need for the basic use cases and evaluated some signal processing in a separate text.

certificatePersonally Richard Baraniuk struck me as a very charismatic and funny person – featuring a fine sense of self-irony – I am looking forward to the opportunity of attending further courses offered by him in the future.

And of course I do not want to make it a secret how proud you are going to feel when you finally hold your hard-earned certificate in your virtual hands!

(original article published on www.joyofdata.de)

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