Sampling is the process of selecting pieces of information out of a continuous stream of information for the purposes of using the samples to create a representation of the whole stream. Sampling is used most frequently in the process of converting analog information into digital information, a process called digital encoding, digitizing or digitalization.

Analog signals have a near infinate range of possible values; digital systems have a finite, limited number of values they can represent. The advantage of a digital signal is that once a signal is digitized it can be reproduced without error. This error-free reproduction function makes digital prefered over analog in most cases.

The process of converting information from analog to digital involves taking samples at regular intervals and using a digital pattern of zeroes and ones (a symbol) to represent that analog value.


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