discrete and continuous systems
The question of whether the signal (or its source) is intrinsically discrete or intrinsically continuous is unresolvable: any experiment to determine this would require infinite bandwidth (or infinite time) and infinite signal-to-noise ratio, and so would be impossible in practice. All that is in question is whether a discrete or continuous representation is more convenient, or useful, or appealing.
Signals that appear intuitively to be continuous-time or continuous-amplitude, but for which a discrete-time or discrete-amplitude representation is preferred, are said to have been time-quantized or amplitude-quantized. Time quantization is either adequate or inadequate according to Nyquist's criterion. Time-quantized signals are said to be sampled, and the systems that handle them are called sampled-data systems. Amplitude quantization worsens the signal-to-noise ratio, an effect describable as the introduction of quantization noise.
Time and amplitude must both be quantized for processing by digital computers (or by other digital devices), which operate at finite speeds on finite amounts of data held to finite precisions. The same physical constraints operate, although in a different way, to limit the extent to which analog computers (or other analog devices) can approximate to the continuous representation of signals.
See also quantization.
"discrete and continuous systems." A Dictionary of Computing. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 19, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/computing/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/discrete-and-continuous-systems
"discrete and continuous systems." A Dictionary of Computing. . Retrieved October 19, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/computing/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/discrete-and-continuous-systems
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.