Analog

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What is the difference between analog and digital technology? (PC Net)

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analog : of, relating to, or being a mechanism in which data is represented by continuously variable physical quantities — Webster

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Analog or analogue signal is any continuous signal for which the time varying feature (variable) of the signal is a representation of some other time varying quantity, i.e., analogous to another time varying signal. It differs from a digital signal in terms of small fluctuations in the signal which are meaningful. Analog is usually thought of in an electrical context; however, mechanical, pneumatic, hydraulic, and other systems may also convey analog signals. An analog signal uses some property of the medium to convey the signal’s information. Electrically, the property most commonly used is voltage followed closely by frequency, current, and charge. Any information may be conveyed by an analog signal; often such a signal is a measured response to changes in physical phenomena, such as sound, light, temperature, position, or pressure, and is achieved using a transducer. An analog signal is one where at each point in time the value of the signal is significant, where as a digital signal is one where at each point in time, the value of the signal must be above or below some discrete threshold. For example, in sound recording, fluctuations in air pressure (that is to say, sound) strike the diaphragm of a microphone which induces corresponding fluctuations in the current produced by a coil in an electromagnetic microphone, or the voltage produced by a condensor microphone. The voltage or the current is said to be an “analog” of the sound. An analog signal has a theoretically infinite resolution. In practice an analog signal is subject to noise and a finite slew rate. Therefore, both analog and digital systems are subject to limitations in resolution and bandwidth. As analog systems become more complex, effects such as non-linearity and noise ultimately degrade analog resolution to such an extent that the performance of digital systems may surpass it. Similarly, as digital systems become more complex, errors can occur in the digital data stream. A comparable performing digital system is more complex and requires more bandwidth than its analog counterpart. In analog systems, it is difficult to detect when such degradation occurs. However, in digital systems, degradation can not only be detected but corrected as well. — Wikipedia

David Darling’s Internet Encyclopedia of Science, Britannica, Columbia (Infoplease)

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Is Reality Digital or Analog? (George Musser, Scientific American)

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Introductory Analog Electronics Laboratory (MIT)
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