digital

by Joost | Last Updated: June 28, 2022
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Digital data, in information theory and information systems, are discrete, discontinuous representations of information or works, as contrasted with continuous, or analog signals which behave in a continuous manner, or represent information using a continuous function. Although digital representations are the subject matter of discrete mathematics, the information represented can be either discrete, such as numbers and letters, or it can be continuous, such as sounds, images, and other measurements. The word digital comes from the same source as the words digit and digitus (the Latin word for finger), as fingers are often used for discrete counting. Mathematician George Stibitz of Bell Telephone Laboratories used the word digital in reference to the fast electric pulses emitted by a device designed to aim and fire anti-aircraft guns in 1942. The term is most commonly used in computing and electronics, especially where real-world information is converted to binary numeric form as in digital audio and digital photography.