Digital Information

  • William Buchanan
Part of the Macmillan Master Series book series (MMSS)


Information is available in an analogue form or in a digital form. These forms are shown in Figure 2.1. Computer-generated data can be easily stored in a digital format, but analogue signals, such as speech and video, require to be sampled at fixed intervals and then converted to a digital form. This process is known as digitization. The advantages of converting analogue information into digital are that:
  • Digital data is less affected by noise, as illustrated in Figure 2.2;

  • Extra data can be added so that errors can either be detected or corrected;

  • The data does not degrade over time;

  • Processing is relatively easy, either in real-time or non real-time;

  • A single media type can be used to store many different types of information (such as a hard-disk or a CD-ROM);

  • A digital system has a dependable response, whereas an analogue system’s accuracy depends on parameters such as component tolerance, temperature, power supply variations, and so on. Analogue systems thus produce a variable response and no two analogue systems are identical;

  • Digital systems are more adaptable and can be reprogrammed with software. Analogue systems normally require a change of hardware for any functional changes.


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Copyright information

© William Buchanan 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • William Buchanan
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Electrical and Electronic EngineeringNapier UniversityEdinburghUK

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