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Crossing the boundary: analogue universe, digital worlds

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How does the computer's 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.

Course learning outcomes

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.

First Published: 09/08/2012

Updated: 08/11/2018

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