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How does the computers peculiar binary world of digital entities differ from our analogue world of colour, sound, taste and touch? This free course, Crossing the boundary analogue universe, digital worlds, explores the way in which information, in the form of text, still and moving images, and sound can cross the boundary from the analogue universe into a digital world.
After studying this course, you should be able to:
- give examples of quantities that are intrinsically analogue, and quantities that are intrinsically discrete/digital
- define the terms ‘bit’, ‘byte’ and ‘word’
- outline how visual information, such as pictures, diagrams and moving images can be expressed numerically inside a computer
- describe how sounds such as speech and music can be represented inside a computer in terms of numbers.
- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1 Aims
- 2 The worlds we live in
- 3 Analogue information: digital representation
- 3.1 Ghosts of departed quantities
- 3.2 Analogue things
- 3.3 How we perceive things
- 3.4 Discrete things
- 3.5 Digital things
- 3.6 A world of numbers
- 3.7 How we work with numbers
- 3.8 How computers work with numbers
- 3.9 A few more terms
- 3.10 A final word – analogue and digital worlds
- 3.11 Summary
- 4 Crossing the boundary
- 4.1 Mere numbers?
- 4.2 Text
- 4.3 Graphics and video: images
- 4.4 Introducing pixels
- 4.5 Resolution
- 4.6 Greyscale
- 4.7 Colour
- 4.8 Interlude – diagrams
- 4.9 Making it move
- 4.10 Standards again
- 4.11 Image and video capture devices
- 4.12 Sound and music
- 4.13 Sound capture devices
- 4.14 A final word
- 4.15 Summary
- 5 Going back
- 6 What if? … changing the digital world
- 6.1 Kings of infinite space?
- 6.2 Mimicking and mastering nature: manipulating the digital world
- 6.3 Models
- 6.4 Setting models in motion – the power of simulation
- 6.5 Imaginary worlds
- 6.6 Worlds without end
- 6.7 Summary
- 7 Crossing the boundary – a final word
- 8 Conclusions
- Keep on learning
Study this free course
Enrol to access the full course, get recognition for the skills you learn, track your progress and on completion gain a statement of participation to demonstrate your learning to others. Make your learning visible!
Crossing the boundary - analogue universe, digital worlds
This course introduces the important distinction between our analogue world of colour, sound, taste and touch and the computer's peculiar binary world of digital entities. Concepts of the analogue universe in which we live and the digital world we create are explained. The way in which information, in the form of text, still and moving images, and sound can cross the boundary from the analogue universe into a digital world is explored.
This OpenLearn course provides a sample of Level 1 study in
This free course includes adapted extracts from an Open University course which is no longer available to new students. If you found this interesting you could explore more free Computing and ICT courses or view the range of currently available OU Computing and ICT courses.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Tuesday, 12th July 2011
Last updated on: Tuesday, 15th March 2016
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements and our FAQs section.
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