In the last few days we have had a few questions related to DSP.

How to compare two audio files?


Which freeware analysis software most closely resembles the functionality of Matlab DSP toolbox

The first question I linked to has been suggested to be better in stack overflow by endolith. While the second question was defended to stay on our site by both Joby Taffey and reemrevnivek here: Does this question seem to fit?

I have looked at the Stack Overflow tag for DSP and was actually rather unhappy. There are 157 questions tagged with the DSP tag, but most of them have gotten very little attention, especially for how active Stack Overflow is. I think this may be a case that the Stack Overflow experts are mostly Computer Science guys where as the experts on our site tend to be more in the Electrical Engineering field. In my experience EEs are much better suited to answer a DSP question then Computer Science guys.

So, where do you think we should draw the line here? DSP does tend to be much more programming oriented, which is what Stack Overflow is intended for however, our community seems to be better suited to answer the questions.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This question refers to Digital Signal ProcessING, the representation of signals, not the use of a Digital Signal ProcessOR, a microcontroller with features suited for dealing with these problems like, say, a dsPIC, no? Some clarification might be good. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 28, 2010 at 16:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ yes, i think it is DSP. I am not used to calling a digital signal processor a DSP, but I see the confusion. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Oct 28, 2010 at 19:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ Have to love 50/50 votes. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Oct 29, 2010 at 0:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ Similar questions: meta.gis.stackexchange.com/questions/14/… blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/08/unix-and-ubuntu-why-both \$\endgroup\$
    – endolith
    Feb 21, 2011 at 20:31

3 Answers 3


I have to say I agree with Joby and Reemrevnivek. I think DSP has a perfect home here. Now comparing audio files is something that sounds really easy to someone without DSP experience, but I think we have the community to help out with problems like this.

I am going to say that I think it could go either place, but if there is not enough help on SO then I think we can give it a home.

Look forward to hearing from others.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I agree with me too \$\endgroup\$ Oct 27, 2010 at 15:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ That means you are awesome \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Oct 27, 2010 at 15:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ I agree that DSP is on-topic. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 28, 2010 at 19:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ummm... DSP is offered by most of the universities in there EE department. Should that count as a confirmation? \$\endgroup\$
    – Rick_2047
    Jan 11, 2011 at 5:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Rick_2047, I agree, we will see. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Jan 11, 2011 at 14:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ EE department, or EECS department? :) \$\endgroup\$
    – endolith
    Jan 13, 2011 at 20:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ @endolith, CS and EE are different colleges at my school, the EE department offers many classes in DSP, the CS department does not offer any to my knowledge. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Jan 13, 2011 at 20:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ I just want to re-emphasize that practical DSP software development questions are very much on topic in both places, and in fact SO would be a better choice for certain DSP questions (GPU and SSE implementations of digital filters, for example). \$\endgroup\$
    – Ben Voigt
    Oct 23, 2012 at 18:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ @BenVoigt and this was written before there was a DSP site which almost makes this question moot. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Oct 23, 2012 at 20:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Rick_2047 "Ummm... DSP is offered by most of the universities in there EE department. Should that count as a confirmation?" No. DSP is a sub-topic of EE and CS, but it's a sub-topic with its own dedicated site with lots of expert users. DSP questions belong there. Ubuntu is a sub-topic of Unix, but they each have their own sites. \$\endgroup\$
    – endolith
    Aug 31, 2015 at 15:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @endolith This was a post from 2010... \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Sep 4, 2015 at 3:29

I believe that digital signal processing and digital signal processors are relevant topics here.

Processors, because they are hardware devices and electronics hardware is relevant.

Processing, because digital signal processor programming quite often involves having machine-language-level programming skills, which is quite often in the realm of the embedded designer (and, of course, embedded design is a relevant topic here.)

Also, as previously stated, the mathematics behind digital signal processing are generally taught in EE course streams more so than comp sci AFAIK.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, but that implies that E&R is EE-only, and Stack Overflow is CS-only. But I don't think that's the case: "Stack Overflow is for professional and enthusiast programmers" (which would include DSP programmers, no matter what their degree). "Electronics and Robotics is for electronics and robotics hardware hacking enthusiasts", which does not clearly include DSP designers or programmers. \$\endgroup\$
    – endolith
    Feb 18, 2011 at 18:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @endolith, I think it does, as any robotics professional is going to do DSP on a daily basis, even if they do not call it DSP, instead something like Digital Control Systems, which almost exclusively is DSP of control algorithms. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Feb 21, 2011 at 15:29

Edit: Now that there's a dedicated DSP.SE site, DSP theory/software questions are definitely off-topic and all such questions should go there. Fragmenting a topic across multiple sites reduces answer quality and wastes our time and the time of readers.

Questions about interfacing with DSP hardware belong here.

I kind of think DSP belongs on Stack Overflow, as it's inherently related to programming. I've answered a number of related questions on there, and I think it fits pretty well. Some programming belongs here, but more like low-level microcontroller programming, not signal processing theory.

See this question, for example:

It's all code and signal processing theory, and just feels like a better fit for programming-heavy Stack Overflow. There are no electronics or microcontrollers or robotics involved in this question.

Or this question:

The question is about image processing and the best answer is OpenCV. Stack Overflow already has 2,013 questions tagged with "image-processing" and 843 questions tagged with "opencv". The question does not involve electronics or robotics.

And here's a DSP question that was migrated to math.stackexchange, where it doesn't really belong, either:

Also, there is a proposal for a Signal, Image & Video Processing site, which would dilute things even further.

"Where can I find a circuit diagram for a graphic equalizer?" has been proposed as a good on-topic question for that site, which I don't think is a good thing.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I personally lean towards not having DSP, but as the community seemed to side on it, I see their reasoning. We just have to decide what fits us. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Oct 27, 2010 at 22:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ I just realized it may sound like I have apposing views. If it has a better home than here, we should let it go there. If it has a better home here, lets keep it and be greedy. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Oct 28, 2010 at 0:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think the "official" scope of stack overflow would have us placing DSP questions such as the one you linked to belonging on the Stack Overflow site. But, I think the community clearly thinks it should be on electronics and robotics. My reasoning for this is that the question on SO had 51 views, 1 vote on the question and 1 vote on your answer, where as on electronics we had 94 views, 3 up votes on the question and 4 up votes on your answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kellenjb
    Oct 29, 2010 at 0:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ Now as far as that proposal goes, I am worried that there isn't enough interest in it to sustain itself. I personally think it is a better option to make it a tag for our site. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kellenjb
    Oct 29, 2010 at 0:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ You just supplied the close vote for this question:electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/8846/…, do you want to add it to your answer? \$\endgroup\$ Jan 11, 2011 at 20:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @reemrevnivek Add what to my answer? \$\endgroup\$
    – endolith
    Jan 11, 2011 at 20:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @endolith - A link to the closed image processing question. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 11, 2011 at 20:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ DSP is something electrical engineers often enough have to deal with as part of electrical engineering. That makes it squarely on topic here. The fact that it is also on topic somewhere else doesn't change that. If someone asks a DSP question here, they should be answered here. We can't be responsible for what other sites come and go. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 31, 2015 at 20:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @OlinLathrop The fact that it's on-topic on a specialized site means that questions should go there, not here. There should not be duplicate questions on multiple sites, or the potential audience is diluted, effort is duplicated, Don't Repeat Yourself is violated, etc. If you want to ask and answer DSP questions, use the site dedicated to that topic. There is no reason to duplicate content here. Both are parts of the same project, with many of the same people. \$\endgroup\$
    – endolith
    Aug 31, 2015 at 20:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ We'll just have to disagree. Electronics questions on the new general engineering site shouldn't be automatically migrated here either. The DSP questions we got here were generally well received, so there was little reason to start a new site. We can't change this site just because a new overlapping site was started, especially when it probably shouldn't have been, and is likely to fail anyway. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 31, 2015 at 20:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ @endolith Site scopes can overlap. Also, dividing small interest groups into smaller, even more focused interest groups can be counterproductive. \$\endgroup\$
    – W5VO
    Sep 2, 2015 at 3:17

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