A digital system is a data technology that uses discrete (discontinuous) values. By contrast, non-digital (or analog) systems represent information using a continuous function. Although digital representations are discrete, the information represented can be either discrete, such as numbers and letters or 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 used for discrete counting. It 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.
Famous quotes containing the word discrete:
“One can describe a landscape in many different words and sentences, but one would not normally cut up a picture of a landscape and rearrange it in different patterns in order to describe it in different ways. Because a photograph is not composed of discrete units strung out in a linear row of meaningful pieces, we do not understand it by looking at one element after another in a set sequence. The photograph is understood in one act of seeing; it is perceived in a gestalt.”
—Joshua Meyrowitz, U.S. educator, media critic. The Blurring of Public and Private Behaviors, No Sense of Place: The Impact of Electronic Media on Social Behavior, Oxford University Press (1985)