Archives:Going Digital: The 1960s

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A circuit or device may be described by its transfer function, the mathematical relation of input to output. With analog circuits, composed of resistors, capacitors, and so on, only certain transfer functions are practical, while a digital device incorporating a computer could realize almost any conceivable transfer function. Yet before the 1960s few engineers even considered digital circuits for signal processing because computers were hardly available, they were extremely expensive, and they were not fast enough to do real..time signal processing. As computers became widely used for simulation in the 1960s, there arose the idea, in a number of places, that the signal processing itself might be done by computer. This article describes this and other developments for signal processing in the turbulent 1960s.

Citation and Link to Full Article

Frederik Nebeker, "Going Digital: The 1960s," in Signal Processing: The Emergence of a Discipline, 1948-1998 (Piscataway, NJ: IEEE Press, 1998), 55-87. 

Going Digital: The 1960s (pdf)