Chapter 1

Introduction to Signals and Systems

Chapter Outline 1.1 A LITTLE PHILOSOPHY........................................................................ 2 1.2 BASIC CONCEPTS.................................................................................. 3 1.2.1 Introduction ....................................................................................................................................... 3 1.2.2 Two Fundamental Concepts ..................................................................................................... 4 1.3 MATHEMATICAL MODELING.............................................................. 5 1.4 SIGNALS AND SYSTEMS ....................................................................... 7 1.4.1 Introduction ....................................................................................................................................... 7 1.4.2 Signals.................................................................................................................................................8 1.4.3 Systems............................................................................................................................................... 9 1.4.4 Interconnections of Signals and Systems.........................................................................11 1.4.5 Interaction Between Signals and Systems.......................................................................13 1.5 CONTINUOUS-TIME AND DISCRETE-TIME SIGNALS AND SYSTEMS..............................................................................................14 1.6 ORGANIZATION OF THE MATERIAL..................................................14 1.6.1 Organization of the Chapters..................................................................................................14 1.6.2 Coverage of the Text..................................................................................................................16 1.7 HOW TO USE MATLAB WITH THIS BOOK.........................................16 The purpose of this chapter is to explain the basic philosophical concepts that form the basis for the technical concepts presented in the rest of the text. We discuss how these philosophical ideas are evident in the organization of the text. This philosophy also helps to explain how the material in this text is related to the engineering literature as a whole. To readers wholly unfamiliar with the contents of this book, the following discussion may seem a little abstract. Readers are urged to return to this chapter as they progress through the text to develop the big picture as well as the details. Summary of Sections Section 1.1: Section 1.2: Section 1.3: We discuss the philosophy on which this book is based. We introduce the two most fundamental concepts used in the text: signals and systems. We discuss the principle of mathematical modeling.


This knowledge can be used to improve the way we interact with our environment. Then this abstract description is used to indirectly investigate the properties of the physical process. are limited in their ability to accurately describe the physical process. The physical process is observed in a variety of settings. The acquisition of knowledge begins with the observation of a physical process. The first mode of inquiry continues with direct observation of the process . We explain how to use MATLAB with this book. and show us how to design and fabricate entirely new devices. The statement of Newton’s laws gives us a verbal description of these fundamental laws of physics. however. This approach is highly developed. In this mode of inquiry. Our observations of the physical process must be translated into numbers. but also indirect perception through a sensor.5: Section 1.2 Chapter 1 Introduction to Signals and Systems Section 1. in its broadest interpretation. Various techniques can be developed to act on the physical process to alter its characteristics. show us how to improve upon the mechanisms we find in it.experimentation.6: Section 1. There are some underlying principles in the methodologies used for the acquisition of this knowledge for extending our understanding of known concepts. For example. we are able to greatly expand our understanding of the physical process through automated . Verbal descriptions. We use “observation” in a rather general sense meaning not only a direct sensory perception of the physical process. It is crucial. A much more powerful language for the description of a physical process is a mathematical description. Once the process has been observed (implying repeatability) the acquisition of a deeper knowledge of the process proceeds in two modes of inquiry. our understanding of the physical process is developed indirectly by studying the properties of the mathematical description using the tools of mathematics. however. The second mode of inquiry involves developing an abstract description of the physical process. that the process be observed in some way. Its action on other physical processes is documented. 1.7: We discuss more on the concepts of signals and systems. By processing these numbers possibly in conjunction with a mathematical description of the physical process such as a differential equation. The simplest abstract description is a verbal description of the physical process. a mathematical description of the physical process. We discuss the basic organization of the text. and a vast array of laboratory instrumentation is available for investigation of every type of physical process. We discuss continuous-time and discrete-time. In recent years the computer has evolved as a new tool for understanding abstract descriptions of physical processes. Mathematics.1 A LITTLE PHILOSOPHY As engineers and scientists we are interested in understanding the phenomena in the physical world around us. contains a wealth of knowledge that can be brought to bear in the investigation of the properties of the physical process by analyzing its abstract representation.4: Section 1. differential calculus is very useful for understanding and applying Newton’s laws.

Furthermore. An oil painting is a physical process in that it persists through time. The relationship between these voltages and currents is shown to be given by differential equations. and inductor along with a voltage or current source. It is also possible to develop an abstract description of the painting. Furthermore. It turns out that diverse physical processes have mathematical descriptions that are similar in their mathematical properties. Its just that space is limited. in part. With persistence.2. an experimental mode of inquiry. an oil painting. a more sophisticated description can be developed using the laws of physics along with a mathematical description of the colors and geometry. The artist’s understanding of the painting is. This book is concerned with the mathematical descriptions of a physical process and the analytical tools used to analyze these descriptions. for example. it should be remembered that the ultimate goal is to use these concepts to further our understanding of the physical processes.1 Introduction In this book we will discuss the abstract description of a physical process. To a lesser extent we will address the problem of design: synthesizing a mathematical description with the ultimate goal of constructing a physical device that matches the abstract description. Consider. but depends on the other to guide it. but complementary approaches for understanding the physical process: experimentation and abstraction. Neither one of these approaches is satisfactory by itself. through the act of painting. We can also use the computer model of the painting to gain insight into its historical origins.2 BASIC CONCEPTS 1. the same analytical tools can be used for the analysis of the mathematical descriptions of many of these processes. Therefore. Some attempt has been made in the text to keep the readers tuned in to this objective. capacitor.Section 1. One of the primary goals of a first networks course is to introduce the mathematical tools used to describe the operation of a electric network composed of a resistor. While this organization underscores the power and usefulness of this material. This more abstract. sophisticated description is useful in that it allows us to reproduce the painting on our computer screen. it being the way of science. The extension of abstract descriptions of physical processes into the computer environment is having an enormous impact on the way engineering is done today. At the simplest level such an abstract description may be a verbal description of the color and geometry of the painting. At this early point in our discussion we emphasize that we are primarily interested in developing tools that can be used in the understanding of physical processes.2 Basic Concepts 3 computation. The fact that we don’t discuss the experimental aspects of the analysis of physical processes doesn’t imply that this knowledge is less useful than the concepts contained in this text. there are two separate. The painting is experimentally created by the artist with paints and a brush. The voltages and currents in a network are represented by functions. The readers are undoubtedly familiar with this approach. Later it is shown how these mathematical objects can be analyzed using Laplace and Fourier . 1. This basic fact provides the foundation and orientation for the material in this book. the organization of the material in the book tends to emphasize the mathematical aspects of the subject.

Newspapers boast signals describing the fluctuations of the Dow Jones average. Familiar signals include the functions used to describe the voltages and currents in circuits. When the Fed changes the prime interest rate. a signal provides the most basic connecting link between the physical process. A signal. image processing. Once we begin to recognize the many signals around us. . etc. biological populations. It is the purpose of this book to formalize and extend many of the results related to mathematical descriptions of physical processes obtained in the context of network analysis. Armed with the concept of a signal. we can begin to describe the physical world we see around us. and the mathematical analysis techniques developed in this text. Hence. mathematical descriptions of the physical processes which allow deep insight into the behavior of the circuit. it is an abstract mathematical description of the observation. A signal1 is a function that is used to describe an observed physical variable of a physical process. In fact there is a physical interrelationship between many physical processes. these transforms expose properties of the voltages.2 Two Fundamental Concepts The challenge. of course. is the formal definition of an abstract mathematical description of an observed physical process. hydraulics. is to develop descriptive concepts that apply to these many diverse physical processes. currents. voltages and current appear at the circuit terminals. 1. Even more obscure connections turn up in systems with decidedly different observed behavior such as economics. the starting point for our investigation. When we switch on a flashlight (motion of the switch) a light appears (electromagnetic waves). Everything grows from a signal. There are obvious parallels to mechanical systems. velocity. the Dow Jones average changes. Position. These transforms simplify the calculations through the use of complex impedance.2. to name a few. In the course of this development it becomes apparent that the techniques involved in network analysis can be applied to a wide variety of physical phenomena. optics. Less obvious parallels appear in chemical processes. in particular vibration analysis and dynamics. in which we are ultimately interested. and electric machines. When a voltage is applied to a circuit. This interrelationship is the second fundamental component in the abstract mathematical 1 A signal is defined formally in Chapter 5 . Images on the computer screen become signals. It is exactly the fact that these techniques can be applied to such a wide spectrum of physical processes that gives them their power and beauty. and acceleration of a mass (such as an automobile) are also readily described by signals. All of these results are simply abstract. More importantly. A major purpose of this book is to develop these two concepts and their interaction in sufficient depth that they can be applied to the analysis of advance problems in engineering. we may note that certain signals always appear when another signal is present. There are two fundamental concepts that play a central role throughout the book: a signal and a system. source transformations. As such these two concepts motivate the underlying organization of this book.4 Chapter 1 Introduction to Signals and Systems transforms. and circuits that allow deep insight into their behavior that is not readily apparent from the functions or differential equations or from experimentation. robotics. and computers.

An automobile becomes a system by identifying the pressure on the accelerator as the input signal and the velocity of the car as the output signal. Second. this definition of a system is often called a black box definition of a system. the signal or system must be compared to the observations of the physical process. the mathematical model must be of a form which provides useful information. then it is often easy to develop a complicated model which seems to accurately describe the experimental 2 A system is defined formally in Chapter 6 . The terms of the mathematical language. The mathematical relationship between the input signal and the output signal is called a system.1. device. A network becomes a system by identifying the voltage across the power source as the input signal and the voltage across the load resistor as the output signal. causes the appearance of a second signal. . or (large. Hence.1 A System y(t) output signal language developed here to describe observed physical phenomena. the less precise our understanding of the physical process will be. complex) interconnection of devices. 1. A stereo becomes a system by identifying the laser light reflecting off the tracks of the compact disk as the input signal. The less precisely the signal or system matches the observations. there is a close relationship between the abstract mathematical description of the physical process and the experimental understanding of that process.1.2 The abstract concept of a system is frequently described with a cartoon as shown in Figure 1. the signal or system must accurately reflect the observed physical process. A system is described by its external connections to the world. As implied in the description above.2. Conversely. That is.3 MATHEMATICAL MODELING Signals and systems are mathematical objects that describe the physical world we observe around us.Section 1. We call these mathematical objects representations or models of the signal or system. This definition of a system may appear somewhat novel. the functional form of the signal or system often motivates the laboratory experiments and establishes the acceptable ranges of parameter values. called the output signal. a system is identified by defining the input signal and the output signal. they must satisfy two criteria. but we hope to show over the course of the book that it is extremely useful. It is exactly here that the experimental characterization of the physical process is critical. Because of Figure 1. and the sound coming out of the speakers as the output signal. called the input signal. one signal. we don’t care what is in the black box. If signals and systems are to be a useful descriptive language.2. If the physical process is complex. and they must agree to an acceptable level of accuracy. First. A system can be generally identified with a physical process.3 Mathematical Modeling 5 system input x(t) signal H Figure 1.2.

Therefore. then even complex. the computer simulations offer an attractive alternative physical experiments. for the computer simulations to be successful. we won’t be able to develop any useful information about the physical process from the abstract description. New computational tools. Hence. Some models that previously were too complex for analysis with pencil and paper become almost trivial with current computer technology. the range and depth of the analysis that can be performed within an acceptable period of time is dramatically increased. accurate mathematical models must exist of the physical process. In these situations. If the model is oversimplified. Many electronic circuits are easy to build and test in the lab. These computer tools dramatically extend the usefulness of mathematical models. difficult to construct. Again. it is important that the model fall into the category where the complexity of the physical process is represented with a model that is amenable to our analysis tools. there is a lot of interest currently in developing systems that reduce the sound levels in aircraft cabins. laboratory experiments can be very complex.6 Chapter 1 Introduction to Signals and Systems observations. expensive. Switching power supplies are one such class of circuits in which the transistors are operated in an on-off mode. NASA is currently building the space station. It is possible to develop models that describe the propagation of acoustic waves in these environments. however. the model serves no useful purpose. Furthermore. The advances in hardware and software technology allow much more of the system analysis and design to be transferred from experimental hardware into the computer laboratory. This operation introduces discontinuities into the numerical simulations which are problematic. The development of mathematical models has been significantly impacted by the emergence of sophisticated computer simulation packages. however. which can be thought of as an extension of an abstract mathematical description of the physical process. it is often easier and faster to test their behavior in the lab rather than spend many hours on computer simulation. It is a complicated truss structure with many joints and large point masses. Such a complex model. For example. It must be remembered that these two modes of inquiry into the nature of the physical process are still complementary and mutually supportive. it may impossible to duplicate the physical process in the lab. These models must also be numerically tractable. Understanding how sound propagates in complex enclosures is very important to many engineering designs. It is impossible to experimentally investigate the dynamic response because a zero gravity environment of the required size can’t be fabricated on earth. computer simulation remains the only feasible method for characterization of the dynamic response of such large space structures. It is not known how this structure will respond dynamically in space. In the most extreme cases. then it won’t retain any of the interesting behavior of the physical process. In general. and time-consuming. may not be tractable by any known analysis tools. For these devices. The advancements in computer technology. If the models can’t be simulated even on the largest computers. expensive experiments are necessary. but these models require an inordinate amount of computer time to . Of course. Therefore. are shifting the relative importance of these two approaches in engineering analysis and design. have made computer simulation a full partner to laboratory experimentation. but they pose difficult problems for numerical simulations. but it must be constructed of lightweight materials. This structure is quite large.

In fact. and a digital computer to generate an input signal into the actuator in response to the electronic output of the sensor. the mathematical modeling of this system is inadequate. Therefore. Experimentation remains the best method for understanding this system.4. that these computer tools have influenced the growth of the mathematical language and the analysis tools for signals and systems and vice versa. There has been a lot of interest in recent years in developing devices to reduce vibrations in flexible structures. some thought has gone into presenting the material in the text to emphasize the relationship between the theoretical concepts and their implementation in MATLAB. then. For these devices simulation models can be quite useful. The main problem is that while the proposed models match the observed data. These devices typically include a sensor to measure the vibrations in the structure. introduce some of the analysis tools that are available to analyze these models. Indeed. an actuator to apply forces to the structure. It is not surprising.Section 1. computer simulations are of limited value in developing noise reduction systems for realistic enclosures at this time. We will discuss the ways in which simple models of signals and systems can be combined to represent complicated systems. Accordingly. It is the purpose of this book to describe some of the basic models that are used to describe a physical process. That is. they can cause the vibrations to increase. Nor is it always clear how to set the parameters of the vibration suppression device to obtain the desired performance. 1. rather than decrease. if these devices are not configured correctly. there are two fundamental concepts in our abstract mathematical descriptive language: a signal and a system.4 SIGNALS AND SYSTEMS 1. not only for determining the device parameters for optimal performance from design methodologies.1 Introduction As we discussed above. We will also discuss how signals and systems . apparently they don’t predict the future behavior of the market. This interplay between the mathematical language and the computer simulation tools is part of an ongoing process in the growth of engineering analysis and design tools. Because these two concepts play such a central role in this book we will discuss them further here. To date no (published) model of this institution exists. W e will explain the various components of the analysis of signals and systems. MATLAB has been integrated into the material.4 Signals and Systems 7 simulate. Engineers developing a model must understand what analysis tools are available as well as the physical process they are trying to model. Unfortunately. leading to damage to the structure. but also for evaluating those parameter values where the whole system would go into failure. These tools have reached a stage of development where it is appropriate to include them in a text at this level. It may have occurred to the reader that a model of the stock market could be financially beneficial. and touch on some of the design procedures for synthesizing a device from a mathematical description. The computer simulation tools are developed out of the abstract mathematical description language used to model physical processes. the whole system can destruct rather rapidly.

In fact. the physics of the underlying process often plays a prominent role in the form of the signal with the parameters of the signal being physically meaningful. and design. We would then proceed to construct a 3 In advanced theory the definition of a signal can be more abstract. suppose we want to generate a sinusoidal voltage of a specific frequency and amplitude. Then we would describe this observation with a sinusoidal function. and we proceed to synthesize a physical process that is described by the signal. . One of the goals of signal theory is to develop this idea into a sophisticated and powerful modeling and analysis tool. could well turn out to characterize an important property of the circuit. A second way to construct a signal model is to sample the signal and then enter the sample values into a computer. At this point signal theory enters the picture. the function. In fact. Quite often signal modeling is an ad hoc process which relies heavily on the past experience of the engineer doing the modeling. we would choose an amplitude and frequency for the sinusoidal function so that it matches the observed trace. Signal design is the reverse of signal modeling and analysis. Signal analysis is concerned with extracting information about the underlying physical process from the signal. 1. analysis. this concept is central to our understanding of physical processes. This frequency. Only by attaching a mathematical description to the observation are we able to characterize it. The second component of signal theory is signal analysis. In particular. Here we start with a signal. (The construction of the sinusoid is signal modeling. A good example of an observed physical variable is the oscilloscope trace of a voltage waveform. Throughout the discussion we will give examples that provide motivation for studying these concepts. In such situations. For example. We will discuss a few simple computer-based techniques for developing signal models from observed experimental data. For example. The key point here is that the frequency is a property of the signal. suppose we observe a sinusoidal oscilloscope trace. not the underlying physical variable.4. but suppose we wish to explain the shape of the signal to someone who can’t see the oscilloscope? Or suppose we wish to infer properties of the circuit from the shape of the waveform? In these cases a more sophisticated description of the oscilloscope trace is needed. In merely stating the problem.) Then we would say that we observed a signal of a certain frequency. we have begun with the signal.8 Chapter 1 Introduction to Signals and Systems interact with each other. The computational power of the computer allows very sophisticated and powerful models of signals to be developed. then we can associate characteristics of the signal with the physical variable. The form of the signal is easy enough to determine if we can observe the oscilloscope. Signal modeling is concerned with developing an abstract description of the time history of an observed physical variable. a parameter of the signal. There are three components to signal theory: modeling. which is an abstract mathematical description. we use this type of analysis routinely in the lab.3 This concept is rather easy to assimilate because we observe these physical variables around us on a daily basis. The third component of signal theory is signal design. If a signal is developed as a description of an observed physical variable.2 Signals Signals are functions that describe the time variation of a physical variable of a physical process.

In that signals are part of the mathematical language.3 Systems Introduction The second fundamental concept associated with the material in this book is a system. We can consider the voltage supplied to the antenna that is used to generate the electromagnetic wave leaving the transmitting antenna as the input signal. One class of systems represent physical processes that transform energy from one form to another. the output signal will not necessarily cause the appearance of the input signal. complex) interconnection of devices. 1. a device.4 Signals and Systems 9 circuit. which is described by this signal we have embedded abstract information into the physical process. respectively. Some kind of chemical energy (fuel) is transformed into mechanical energy in the form of motion. By synthesizing a voltage waveform. The input signal represents a physical process that is generated independently from the system. We interpret device in the broadest possible sense. There are several purposes for signal design. A system is defined in terms of the relationship between two signals. a physical process. These systems are often defined by identifying the input signal to the system as the signal that controls the energy transformation. In this way we can encode into the signal a binary sequence. a computer algorithm can also be a system. say. The job of the antenna designer is to generate the voltage supplied to the transmitter such that the electromagnetic wave will propagate to the receiver with minimal distortion. this binary sequence can carry an information content. The reverse process is not necessarily true. a system is also part of that language. These two signals clearly describe a system. the waveform.Section 1. The output signal. The second purpose of signal design is to determine the shape of the signal so that it will propagate through a system in a specified manner. so we also label it a device. The input signal into a system generates an output signal. or (large. Systems represent physical processes that can perform a variety of functions. A system is typically used to describe a physical process. usually with minimal distortion. we can associate binary “1” and “0” with the positive and negative pulses. Here the signal design is also driven by the characteristics of the system. For example. Clearly. that would generate a voltage which when viewed on the oscilloscope screen would be described by a sinusoid of the specified amplitude and frequency. however. For example. For example. This concept is fundamental to both communication and computers. The output signal is the voltage generated by the electromagnetic wave at the receiving antenna. The most important reason is that by specifying the functional form of the signal we can associate an information content with the signal. an aircraft can be a device that is modeled as a system. This task begins by choosing a signal whose shape describes an electromagnetic wave that will propagate with minimal distortion. More abstractly.4. consider transmitting an electromagnetic wave from one antenna to another. Typically this signal would also carry some information content. The definition of a system implies that the input signal is qualitatively different from the output signal. is generated by the physical process represented by the system when the input signal is present. The input signal into the system controls the conversion of chemical energy into mechanical . by specifying the functional form of the signal to be a series of positive and negative pulses. Transportation vehicles are examples of this type of physical process.

This approach predominates in the introductory courses on networks and dynamics. This approach to modeling is rooted in the basic concepts of signals and systems developed in this book. the received waveform is used as the input signal to a circuit whose output waveform is a clean version of the received waveform. A low power voltage controls the power flow from the power bus to the load. It must accurately describe the physical process or device it represents. Mathematical modeling is concerned with the development of different forms of equations that can be used to represent a system. The mathematical modeling of systems has long been studied. A digital image is often enhanced using a computer algorithm. Again we emphasize that if this model is to be useful in the engineering design process it must satisfy two criteria. Analysis. System analysis consists of three main areas: mathematical modeling. W e explained above how information can be embedded into an electronic waveform. There are a large number of analysis tools for . The robot arm becomes a system when the command signal to the robot arm is identified as an input signal and the position of the gripper is identified as the output signal. and Design A system as a mathematical object is a model or representation. Then a model of the system is computed so that the simulated response of the model matches the experimental data. If this waveform is transmitted over some distance it can become corrupted. analysis. then the computer algorithm becomes the system.10 Chapter 1 Introduction to Signals and Systems energy. a known input signal is applied to the physical process and the corresponding output signal is measured experimentally. Here the circuit is a system that extracts the information (output signal) from the corrupted waveform (input signal). The study of these system models is called system analysis. This model must also lend itself to analysis being neither too simplistic nor too complicated. These methods can be divided into two approaches. A second class of systems represent physical processes that perform a function. (These systems are called filters. The first approach uses physical laws to develop the model. known as system identification. The second approach. An example of this type of physical process is a robot arm. Another example of this type of physical process are electronic amplifiers. System analysis consists of analyzing the system model to uncover properties and characteristics of the system. How the system acts on the signal depends on the frequency of the input signal. The equalizer on a stereo works on this principle. If the original digital image is identified as the input signal and the processed digital image is identified as the output signal. Another very common function of a system is to pass certain signals through to the output signal while blocking the transmission of other signals. attempts to back calculate the model of the system from knowledge of the input and output signals. System Modeling. and design. The function of the gripper is to grip an object. Another type of system extracts parameters or information from a signal. The input signal from the storage medium contains signals of all frequencies. and there are many specialized methods for obtaining system models. In this case the system restores a degraded signal. The equalizer as a system attenuates some of these signals more than others.) These systems enhance or remove characteristics of the input signal. In order to extract the information. A third class of systems represent physical processes that in some way process the input signal. The amplifier is represented as a system when the reference bias voltage is identified as the input signal and the voltage to the load is identified as the output signal. In this approach.

System design is the converse process of the mathematical modeling. System analysis can replace lengthy and potentially costly laboratory experimentation. In the second class of system design we seek to fabricate an entirely new system. In another interpretation. then this analysis can aid in the determination of the performance specifications within the tolerances of the components or in the selection of the components. In the first class we seek to modify an existing system by the addition of hardware. there are many approaches to system design which depend on the underlying device. The most important example of this type of design is filter design. or by attaching another system to the given system. There is a close relationship between the model development and the system analysis. the electronic circuit has been replaced by a microprocessor.4 Interconnections of Signals and Systems Signals and systems form the basic building blocks in the mathematical language that we use to describe physical processes. System analysis can support the development of a new device in several ways. Through system analysis we can examine the effect on the performance of the system as one or more parameters of the system change. the changes in the parameter values may represent variations due to changes in the environment such as temperature and pressure.Section 1. More recently. System analysis can determine whether a system will continue to meet its performance specifications throughout its operating envelope. we want the circuit to respond in a certain way to sinusoidal input signals with specified frequencies. Now the filter design focuses on finding an appropriate algorithm to achieve the desired processing of the input signal. Historically. 1. System analysis often lends insight into the cause or source of this behavior. That is. If each of these parameters corresponds to a component in the system. however. In addition. . or changes due to aging. This type of system design falls into the domain of control theory. Very complicated systems often exhibit unusual and/or unexpected behavior. To describe these complicated physical processes it is often useful to think of them as being composed of many interrelated signals and systems. In this way we ensure that the device has the properties we desire. this type of design is concerned with building a circuit with a given transfer function. Often the reason for modifying the existing system is to improve its response to given input signals.4 Signals and Systems 11 investigating the properties of a system. computer analysis tools extend our ability to use a system model to understand the underlying physical process.4. system analysis allows the system behavior to be thoroughly probed in an efficient manner to expose system deficiencies. Hence. Obviously many physical processes are very complex and consist of many interrelated components. System design in general requires ingenuity on the part of the designer. Conversely. It should be remembered that the viability of system analysis depends on the accuracy of the model. By establishing interconnections between simple signals and systems we can build up complex systems that represent very complicated physical processes. many of which are discussed in this text. We may distinguish two classes of design. System design begins by postulating a mathematical model with desirable properties and then constructing a device which matches the mathematical model.

The input signal to this system is the light reflected from the CD. the third system. In this way the larger systems are formed from the interconnection of smaller subsystems. A system is defined as having an input signal and an output signal. The first system would be the CD player. the second system. and analyzing each piece separately much insight is gained into the collective behavior of the entire system. we have an interconnected system. It is entirely possible that the output signal of one system may be the input signal to another system. the output signal of the whole system. Consider the input signal to be the light reflected from the CD and the output signal to be the sound from the speakers.4.2 Interconnections of Systems . The behavior of complex systems can be puzzling and difficult to understand. y(t) + x(t) + y(t) x(t) y(t) x(t) + x(t)y(t) Figure 1. The output signal from the amplifier is the voltage at its output terminals.4. Two of the most useful ways are by adding two signals together and by multiplying two signals together.2.12 Chapter 1 Introduction to Signals and Systems There are several ways to combine signals together.1 Combining Two Signals x(t) H1 H1 H2 H2 + y(t) x(t) y(t) + Figure 1. The importance of breaking a complex system into interconnected subsystems for analysis can’t be overstated. Several interconnection patterns are shown in Figure 1. By breaking the system into smaller pieces. If the CD player is separate from the amplifier which in turn is separate from the speakers.1. These operations are shown in Figure 1. This output signal forms the input signal to the speakers. The output signal is the voltage at the output terminals of the CD player. Here we have a composite system of three subsystems hooked together in a serial fashion. A very familiar example of an interconnected system is a stereo system.4. Or the output signals of two systems may be combined and used as the input signal to another system. The output signal from the speakers is the sound.4. This output signal forms the input signal into the amplifier.

this interaction between the signal and the system is said to be “in the frequency domain. There are many applications where the information in a signal is carried in the frequency of the signal. used to reduce the distortion. The output signal is the signal received by the receiver. Hence.Section 1. Indeed. Each can be studied separately and we shall do so. One way to solve this problem is to input the signal into a system which is specially designed to pass only input signals with a given frequency. These signals are the foundation of communication systems where the signal carries information over long distances. In order to properly design a communication signal it is important to understand how the system changes the communication signal so that the amount of distortion introduced by the channel can be minimized. A gear linkage then moves the flap. A direct linkage between the stick and the flap is not desirable because it will require a considerable amount of energy to move the flap because of the aerodynamic forces. This relationship can best be understood by thinking of the input signal propagating through the system and emerging as the output signal. In effect the communication signal is the input signal into a system (the communication channel). pulse shaping. .4 Signals and Systems 13 1. we want them to have the same functional form. All other signals are severely attenuated. although they may be scaled differently because of the units. The pilot pushes on the “stick” a specified amount to change the flap deflection by a specified angle. the system changes the input signal as it propagates through the system. In this system we want the output signal to follow exactly the input signal. The question to which we address ourselves is characterizing the change in the signal properties using properties of the system. To extract the information in the signal it is necessary to determine the frequency of the signal. That is. The input signal (the transmitted signal) is changed (distorted) by the system (the communication channel) so that the output signal (the received signal) only vaguely resembles the input signal.4. however.. The movement of the stick generates an electric signal that causes the motor shaft to rotate through a specified angle.5 Interaction Between Signals and Systems Signals and systems are closely interrelated concepts.” These results are described in detail in the text. The function of the system is to change a low-energy signal into a high-energy signal. One way this system is implemented is by actuating the flap with electric motors.e. From this point of view. we have a system. i. We have noted that a signal can carry information by properly selecting the waveform. These results are very deep and of fundamental importance. We are also interested in the relationship between signal concepts and systems concepts. The Fourier and Laplace transform also play a central role in the relationship. This signal is sent by the transmitter. It turns out that the key concept is contained in the way a sinusoidal signal propagates through a system. the signal is a sinusoid and the different frequencies are correlated to different information. We must understand the relationship between the input signal and the system so that we can design the system properly. In aircraft the flaps on the wings are controlled by the pilot. If we denote the input signal as the position of the stick and the output signal as the position of the flap. This question is of fundamental importance in many physical processes of interest. is one of the standard results in communication theory.

etc. velocity. Because the matrix relationship between the concepts can be reorganized into a column in several different ways. however. This concept of time is most directly part of our reality. pressure. however. . A glance at the market page of the newspaper will show a graph of a recent trend in the stock market. In this text we will use two different conceptions of time. the interrelationships between the concepts are quite important. which are functions of the integers. Here time is modeled using the real numbers. Therefore. Signals become functions of a real variable. The text is written to exploit this similarity. current. analysis. Certainly economic theory makes extensive use of discretetime signals. In this section we will briefly explain the overall organization of this book. and design tools can be applied to both types of systems with only minor modifications. Voltage. one price is given for each day. Given the scope and depth of this material the many cross relationships between the concepts can be very confusing to the beginning student. The first conception of time is the most common usage of the word. many of the same modeling. Typically. Systems with continuous-time input and output signals are called continuous-time systems.1 Organization of the Chapters The concepts that are presented in this book are highly interrelated. are all physical processes represented by continuous-time signals.6 ORGANIZATION OF THE MATERIAL 1. position. there are several organizations of this material that can be adopted for presentation in book form. We say these signals are continuous-time signals. that a deep understanding of this material recognizes the cross-chapter relationship of the concepts. this text has been organized so that it can be read straight through. The signals. however. discrete-time signals naturally model this process. Because computers inherently process data sequentially in discrete steps. Their relationship could best be presented by a flow chart that is constructed as a matrix. The second conception of time is associated frequently with computers and economics. Systems with discrete-time input and output signals are called discrete-time systems. Almost all introductory courses in networks. but an even more important example for electrical engineers occurs in the computer. For the advanced student.6. Therefore. These signals represent physical processes readily observed in the world around us. It must be emphasized. By associating an integer with each day we readily obtain a discrete signal. Discrete-time signals are not unfamiliar to us. We say these signals are discrete-time signals.14 Chapter 1 Introduction to Signals and Systems 1. Here time is modeled using the integers. It turns out that the models of discrete signals and systems share many of the same mathematical properties. physics and mechanics are devoted to continuous-time signals and systems. The layout of a book. 1. effectively become sequences. requires that the concepts be presented in a linear sequential structure.5 CONTINUOUS-TIME AND DISCRETE-TIME SIGNALS AND SYSTEMS We have defined a signal as a function which describes a physical variable as it evolves in time. Therefore.

The concepts directly related to signals are separated from the concepts related to systems. they are essentially parallel to each other. and discrete-time Fourier transform. In the introductory chapters we discuss basic functions that can be used for signals.1. A concerted effort has been made to separate this background material from the concepts which have an explicit engineering orientation. This division is accomplished through the chapter designations. The properties of these system models are also discussed.Section 1. This organization of the material is repeated in both the continuous-time and discrete-time material. the relationship between signals and systems is developed. The Fourier series and Fourier transform. This basic division of the text is shown in Figure 1. The main tools in this discussion are the Fourier series. continuous-time and discrete-time systems are used to model very different physical processes. It must be emphasized. There are several fundamental divisions of the material as it is presented in this book which we will explain next. and various equations that can be used for modeling systems. The chapters on systems focus on the development of system models and their interrelationship. these results are the same (on most points). convolution integral. The discussion begins with a formal introduction to the definitions of a signal and system. The chapters on signals focus on developing frequency domain descriptions of signals. Continuous-time signals and systems are discussed in Part I of the text and discrete-time signals and systems are discussed in Part II. that these two sets of results are closely related. Chapters 2 . The primary division of the presentation is the between continuous-time and discrete-time signals and systems. and state space representation are discussed. Within Part I and Part II of the text. (Of course. The Laplace transform. The chapters on the relationship between signals and systems build on the concepts introduced in the previous chapters.6. the material has been further subdivided according to the concepts introduced in this chapter. The chapters devoted to background material can be covered as necessary.6 Organization of the Material 15 the text has been organized to exploit these interrelationships.1. .6. including linearity and time invariance. The discrete-time transforms that parallel the Laplace and Fourier transform. The signals and systems concepts in this book require a certain amount of mathematical background. The following discussion is an aid for the advanced students to guide them through the more subtle organizational aspects of this text. Finally. Part II of this text has been written so that it can be read independently of Part I (aside from the introductory chapters in Part I). Fourier transforms. however. It has been widely recognized that mathematically. The transfer function. There are several chapters which cover this background. In fact. The breakdown of the chapters is summarized in Figure 1.4 Chapter 7 Chapter 9 Chapter 18 This material is commonly found in the prerequisite math and networks courses of a signals and systems course.) The close relationship between these two blocks of material can be observed in the Table of Contents by comparing the continuous-time chapters to the discrete-time chapters. Here is a summary of this background material.

15. This presentation of this theory is self-contained.2 can be used as a road map for reading selected portions of this book. 1. This information. 22 Frequency Domain Analysis of Continuous Signals and Systems Chapter 14.6 Discrete-Time . however.13 Discrete-Time Systems Chapter 21.16 Chapter 1 Introduction to Signals and Systems Introduction to Signals and Systems Continuous-time .7 HOW TO USE MATLAB WITH THIS BOOK The primary purpose of this text is to provide a comprehensive framework for the basic concepts of the theory of signals and systems. Figure 1. that some of the theoretical results derive their practical importance from their application to numerical computation.6.Chapters 5.6.6. Furthermore. and it is illustrated by numerous examples in the text. The interrelationships between the chapters in Figure 1. which can be quite confusing to the beginning student.Chapter 17 Continuous-Time Signals Chapter 8 Discrete-Time Signals Chapters 19.1 Outline of the Chapter Structure 1.6.2 is also summarized in the chapter introduction in the subsections entitled Coverage of the Text. 20 Continuous-Time Systems Chapters 10 . It must be recognized. 16 Part I Frequency Domain Analysis of Discrete Signals and Systems Chapter 23 Part II Figure 1. As can be seen from Figure 1.2 Coverage of the Text The many concepts in this text are related in many ways. is provided primarily for the advanced student as a guide for tracing the specific relationships between concepts.2 the later chapters don’t necessarily require all of the results from the previous chapters.2. an understanding of the examples and the underlying theory can be enhanced by . These subsections give a detailed description of the prerequisite material that is required for each section of the chapter. The relationship between the chapters can best be described by a matrix structure shown in Figure 1.6.6.

6.7 Chapter 16 Bode Plots How to Use MATLAB with This Book Figure 1.2 Relationship Between Chapters in Text with Topical Coverage 17 .Continuous-Time Signals Chapter 5 Laplace Transforms Chapter 9 Continuous-Time Systems Chapter 6 Transfer Functions Chapter 10 Chapter 7 DFT's Chapter 8 Spectrum of a Signal Chapter 13 System Properties Frequency Response Chapter 14 Chapter 15 Propagation of a Signal Through a System Chapter 19 Sampling Chapter 20 State Space Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Convolution and Fourier Transfer Functions Fourier Transforms Discrete-Time Signals and Systems Chapter 17 Discrete Systems Chapter 21 z-Transforms Chapter 18 System Properties Chapter 22 Discrete Frequency Response Chapter 23 Section 1.

so the availability of MATLAB is not strictly required for self-study. it is generally assumed that MATLAB is available for problem solving. there is merit in gaining a working knowledge of the software itself. The description of the MATLAB commands in this text are not intended to substitute for the MATLAB manual or help files.18 Chapter 1 Introduction to Signals and Systems investigation through numerical simulation. the relationship between the concept and the MATLAB command structure is explained. Rather. The Exploratory Exercises serve as a guide to readers in this investigation. The discussion of MATLAB in relation to the material generally follows the discussion of the main theoretical concepts and examples in each section or chapter. a computational software tool. has been integrated into the text as an extension of the existing material.” This subsection contains a brief description of the MATLAB commands that pertain to the concepts introduced into the section. Therefore. Hence. Generally. The way this philosophy is implemented in the text structure is that most sections contain a subsection at the end titled “MATLAB Experiments. particularly if there is some question about the command syntax in the M-files given in the text. This basic philosophy guides the integration of MATLAB into the material. The previous remarks apply to the integration of MATLAB into the main body of the text. As a computational tool MATLAB is well-suited to extend the readers’ understanding of the theory beyond the traditional confines of the written page. It is also assumed that the readers will make extensive use of the MATLAB help files. (They are usually short.) In this way the readers will learn the syntax and structure of MATLAB through example. computer problems are not identified as such. explaining how MATLAB can be used to further the understanding of the material and how it is applied to problem solving. this M-file recreates the supporting example in the text. This understanding will allow the readers to modify the M-file. As each new theoretical concept is introduced. It is assumed that readers are familiar with the basics of MATLAB as provided in the introductory chapters of the MATLAB manual. This knowledge will allow the readers to use MATLAB in conjunction with the theory of signals and systems to solve real problems. Then a MATLAB M-file is given which illustrates the relationship between the concept presented in the section and the MATLAB command. readers can build their understanding by modifying the M-file to probe deeper into the meaning of the example. . From this clearly defined starting point. Therefore. Then a MATLAB M-file is given illustrating a calculation using the concept. By entering the code of the particular M-file the readers will understand how this M-file solves the particular problem. The readers can then use the M-file to explore the implications of the concept through the example with the aid of the Exploratory Exercises. The problems at the end of the chapters present a more in-depth challenge in the application of MATLAB. MATLAB. It is suggested that the readers type in each M-file. the descriptions of the MATLAB commands are intended to provide an interface between the material in the text and MATLAB. MATLAB has evolved into a standard computational tool that is widely used in industry as well as academia. The example in the text gives the readers a point of reference for the interpretation of the output from the M-file. This experience will build the expertise of readers to write their own M-files to solve their own problems. Because of the comprehensive integration of MATLAB into this material.

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