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What is Digital Signal Processing?

The world of science and engineering is filled with signals: images from remote space probes, voltages generated by the heart and brain, radar and sonar echoes, seismic vibrations, and countless other applications. Digital Signal Processing is the science of using computers to understand these types of data. This includes a wide variety of goals: filtering, speech recognition, image enhancement, data compression, neural networks, and much more. DSP is one of the most powerful technologies that will shape science and engineering in the twenty-first century. Suppose we attach an analog-to-digital converter to a computer, and then use it to acquire a chunk of real world data. DSP answers the question: What next?