# Hilbert Transform in C provides possibly strange results

I am calculating some signals that depend on the Hilbert Transform and, after following various guides online and SO, my function looks like this:

void Hilbert_Transf(COMPLEX *cplx_data, const int LENGTH)
{
float Imag_Val = 0.0f;
for(int i = 0; i < LENGTH; i++)
{
Imag_Val = cplx_data[i].y;
cplx_data[i].y = (Imag_Val > 0 ? -PI / 2 : (Imag_Val < 0 ? PI / 2 : 0));
}
}


It is essentially testing if the imaginary value is positive, so it is replaced by -PI / 2, or by PI / 2 if it is negative, and by 0 if 0. To test the function I used a sine wave, computed by:

const int LENGTH = 1024;
float input[LENGTH];
for(int i = 0; i < LENGTH; i++)
input[i] = sin(i * 2 * PI * 0.01);


The FFT process is throught Intel MKL, so in the function above I just considered COMPLEX *cplx_data to be a complex in the form MKL takes and the member .y being its imaginary part. Then I write to files the input data (sine wave) and output from the HT, and plot them. So you can see the input sine in blue and the HT of it in red, as well as the "serrated" peaks, troughs. I wasn't expecting this "stepped" behavior. Can you guys tell me what is wrong/missing and how it should be? If you need more information, just let me know.

========== EDIT ===========

Matt L., following your script, here is the result of a plot which looks more decent: Blue is the input and red, the output. I will of course find a way to reproduce this in C, but I will ask a couple more questions on the comments so we can close it.

• Whatever you are computing here, it's not a Hilbert Transform. Recommendation: start with the math, make sure that this is correct (and exactly what you want), than implement the code, and then verify the code against the math. – Hilmar Jan 20 at 15:39
• yeah, what Hilmar said. – robert bristow-johnson Jan 21 at 11:30

The function in your question doesn't compute the Hilbert transform.

The Hilbert transform can be implemented either in the time domain by filtering the input signal with a filter kernel that approximates the ideal kernel of the Hilbert transform (there are approximations for FIR and IIR Hilbert transformers), or it can be implemented in the frequency domain.

An example of a frequency domain implementation is the Matlab/Octave function hilbert. But note that this function actually computes the analytic signal, so the Hilbert transform is the imaginary part of the result.

A simple direct frequency domain implementation of the Hilbert transform is shown in the Matlab/Octave script below. Note that it only uses real (I)FFTs.

% compute Hilbert transform of vector x

N = length(x);
X = fft(x);

if ~rem(N,2),       % N is even

n = N/2;

% set values at DC and Nyquist to zero
X(1) = 0; X(n+1) = 0;

% multiply with -1i * sign(w)
X(2:n) = -1i * X(2:n);
X(n+2:N) = 1i * X(n+2:N);

else                % N is odd

n = (N+1)/2;

% set value at DC to zero
X(1) = 0;

% multiply with -1i * sign(w)
X(2:n) = -1i * X(2:n);
X(n+1:N) = 1i * X(n+1:N);

endif

y = real(ifft(X));

• @Matt L. Thanks for your reply. You can checking here: link , at minute 6:00. But if you see any mistake in the explanation, I am all ears. As I mentioned, I am using C, not Matlab, and I intend to apply Euler's formula to rotate the phase of a signal by X degrees once I get the HT right. – JayY Jan 20 at 16:29
• @JayY: He's talking about a phase shift of $-\pi/2$, not about replacing the imaginary part by $\pm\pi/2$. I know you're using C, but the reason why I linked to Matlab's hilbert function is because in the documentation the algorithm is explained, and it's pretty straightforward. – Matt L. Jan 20 at 18:20
• @Matt L. Again, thanks for your comment. I have inspected Matlab/Octave's Hilbert script and reproduced it in C (it zeroes half of the real/imag arrays, and multiplies by 2 the other half). When I apply the inverse FFT to have the real signal back so I can proceed to Euler's formula, it really just changes the magnitude. As you said, the HT is the imaginary part of the result, but (FFT_Length == Length / 2 + 1) in the FFT packages I use, so I can't multiply without doing iFFT. What do you suggest? – JayY Jan 20 at 18:51
• @JayY: I added a short code fragment to my answer explaining how the Hilbert transform can be implemented using real FFTs. – Matt L. Jan 21 at 11:30
• @Matt L. Thanks for the sample and please see above the result. I'd like to ask just for a couple more clarifications: 1 - why do you set the DC and the Nyquist freq to 0? 2 - This sample code requires N to be even, but I don't know beforehand if my input will be even. In case it is odd, then it is when these "limits" calculated by hilbert.m come into play (not demonstrated here)? – JayY Jan 21 at 12:09