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Crossing the boundary - analogue universe, digital worlds
How does the computer's peculiar binary world of digital entities differ from our...
How does the computer's peculiar binary world of digital entities differ from our analogue world of colour, sound, taste and touch? This unit 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.
Having studied this unit, 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 Summary
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Crossing the boundary - analogue universe, digital worlds
This unit 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 unit is from our archive and is an adapted extract from Data, computing and information (M150) which is no longer taught by The Open University. If you want to study formally with us, you may wish to explore other courses we offer in this.
This is an extract 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: Wednesday, 5th September 2012
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