Skip to main content
Engineering LibreTexts

5.11: Discrete -Time Systems

Learning Objectives

  • Discrete-time calculations are generally easier and more flexible than analog ones, allowing for practical calculation of Fourier transform.

When we developed analog systems, interconnecting the circuit elements provided a natural starting place for constructing useful devices. In discrete-time signal processing, we are not limited by hardware considerations but by what can be constructed in software.

Exercise \(\PageIndex{1}\)

One of the first analog systems we described was the amplifier. We found that implementing an amplifier was difficult in analog systems, requiring an op-amp at least. What is the discrete-time implementation of an amplifier? Is this especially hard or easy?


In discrete-time signal processing, an amplifier amounts to a multiplication, a very easy operation to perform.

In fact, we will discover that frequency-domain implementation of systems, wherein we multiply the input signal's Fourier transform by a frequency response, is not only a viable alternative, but also a computationally efficient one. We begin with discussing the underlying mathematical structure of linear, shift-invariant systems, and devise how software filters can be constructed.


  •  ContribEEOpenStax