Discrete in science is the opposite of continuous: something that is separate; distinct; individual. Discrete may refer to:

  • Discrete particle or quantum in physics, for example in quantum theory
  • Discrete device, an electronic component with just one circuit element, either passive or active, other than an integrated circuit
  • Discrete group, a group with the discrete topology
  • Discrete mathematics, the study of structures without continuity
  • Discrete optimization, a branch of optimization in applied mathematics and computer science
  • Discrete probability distribution, a random variable that can be counted
  • Discrete signal, a time series consisting of a sequence of quantities
  • Discrete space, a simple example of a topological space
  • Discrete time, non-continuous time, which results in discrete-time samples
  • Discrete pitch, a pitch with a steady frequency, rather than an indiscrete gliding, glissando or portamento, pitch

Famous quotes containing the word discrete:

    We have good reason to believe that memories of early childhood do not persist in consciousness because of the absence or fragmentary character of language covering this period. Words serve as fixatives for mental images. . . . Even at the end of the second year of life when word tags exist for a number of objects in the child’s life, these words are discrete and do not yet bind together the parts of an experience or organize them in a way that can produce a coherent memory.
    Selma H. Fraiberg (20th century)

    The mastery of one’s phonemes may be compared to the violinist’s mastery of fingering. The violin string lends itself to a continuous gradation of tones, but the musician learns the discrete intervals at which to stop the string in order to play the conventional notes. We sound our phonemes like poor violinists, approximating each time to a fancied norm, and we receive our neighbor’s renderings indulgently, mentally rectifying the more glaring inaccuracies.
    W.V. Quine (b. 1908)

    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)