The world we live in is an analog one. Items that surround us, that we take for granted, such as pressure, heat, humidity, light, sound, position, and motion, all have the attributes of being continuous and varying in time. They exhibit analog behavior. One of the great inventions of the 20th century was the microprocessor, which ushered in the era of digital computing, enabling fast and efficient computation. However, digital processing is based on the existence of logic 1’s and 0’s, which are not present in the natural-occurring parameters above.
Today, digital processing has become ubiquitous in almost every facet of our lives. Yet, in almost every instance, a variety of analog products surround the digital computer. These analog products must shape and amplify the external (real-world) analog signal, then convert it to the 1’s and 0’s that the digital engine can process. A typical configuration of analog products around a digital signal processor is shown below.
In actuality, the world really is going digital; it just needs analog to get there.
Because of the proliferation of digital processors, and the fact that surrounding every digital chip are numerous analog ones, analog is clearly here to stay. For example, cell phones, which are based on a digital processor, contain more than twice as many analog chips as digital ones.
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