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Architectures and methods for the rapid design of silicon cores for implementing discrete wavelet transforms over a wide range of specifications are described. These architectures are efficient, modular, scalable, and cover orthonormal and biorthogonal wavelet transform families. They offer efficient hardware utilization by exploiting a number of core wavelet filter properties and allow the creation of silicon designs that are highly parameterized, including in terms of wavelet type and wordlengths. Control circuitry is embedded within these systems allowing them to be cascaded for any desired level of decomposition without any interface glue logic. The time to produce chip designs for a specific wavelet application is typically less than a day and these are comparable in area and performance to handcrafted designs. They are also portable across a wide range of silicon foundries and suitable for field programmable gate array and programmable logic data implementation. The approach described has also been extended to wavelet packet transforms.