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Related to digital circuit: Analog circuit
digital circuit,electronic circuit that can take on only a finite number of states. That is contrasted with analog circuitsanalog circuit,
electronic circuit that operates with currents and voltages that vary continuously with time and have no abrupt transitions between levels. Generally speaking, analog circuits are contrasted with digital circuits, which function as though currents or voltages
..... Click the link for more information. , whose voltages or other quantities vary in a continuous manner. Binary (two-state) digital circuits are the most common. The two possible states of a binary circuit are represented by the binary digits, or bits, 0 and 1. The states are also commonly referred to as "on" and "off" or "high" and "low" (see information theoryinformation theory
or communication theory,
mathematical theory formulated principally by the American scientist Claude E. Shannon to explain aspects and problems of information and communication.
..... Click the link for more information. ). The simplest forms of digital circuits are built from logic gates, the building blocks of the digital computercomputer,
device capable of performing a series of arithmetic or logical operations. A computer is distinguished from a calculating machine, such as an electronic calculator, by being able to store a computer program (so that it can repeat its operations and make logical
..... Click the link for more information. . Since most of the physical variables encountered in the real world, e.g., position and temperature, exist in analog form, they are represented electrically by continuously varying currents and voltages in analog circuits. To make digital and analog circuits compatible special converters are used—either analog-to-digital or digital-to-analog depending on the direction of information flow. Digital circuits simulate continuous functions with strings of bits; the more bits that are used, the more accurately the continuous signal can be represented. For example, if 16 bits are used to represent a varying voltage, the signal can be assigned one of more than 65,000 different values. Digital circuits are more immune to noise than analog circuits, and digital signals can be stored and duplicated without degradation (see compact disccompact disc
(CD), a small plastic disc used for the storage of digital data. As originally developed for audio systems, the sound signal is sampled at a rate of 44,100 times a second, then each sample is measured and digitally encoded on the 4 3-4 in (12 cm) disc as a series of
..... Click the link for more information. ). Digital circuits can often manipulate signals more effectively—and less expensively—than analog circuits. Those reasons helped digital systems to succeed over all analog contenders for proposed high-definition television in the United States.
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digital circuit[′dij·əd·əl ′sər·kət]
A circuit designed to respond at input voltages at one of a finite number of levels and, similarly, to produce output voltages at one of a finite number of levels.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
digital circuitAn electronic circuit that accepts and processes binary data (on/off) according to the rules of Boolean logic (AND, OR, NOT, etc.). See chip and Bebop to the Boolean Boogie.
A digital circuit can be conceptualized as a mass of plumbing. The circuit paths are the pipes, the transistors are the valves and the electricity is the water. Imagine opening a valve, and the water that passes through it and down a pipe will eventually reach a second valve, causing it to turn on, allowing water in another pipe to flow through it that reaches another valve, and so on.
A resistor can be viewed as a large pipe that narrows into a smaller pipe, a capacitor as a storage tank and a diode as a one-way valve, allowing water to flow in only one direction.
|From Logic to Plumbing|
|It would be a plumber's worst nightmare to have to follow the maze of pipes (circuits) that are really created in a chip. This simple circuit actually resides in every computer. For more details, see chip.|
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