The dogma of signal processing maintains that a signal must be sampled at a rate at least twice its highest frequency in order to be represented without error. However, in practice, we often compress the data soon after sensing, trading off signal representation complexity (bits) for some error (consider JPEG image compression in digital cameras, for example). Clearly, this is wasteful of valuable sensing resources. Over the past few years, a new theory of “compressive sensing” has begun to emerge, in which the signal is sampled (and simultaneously compressed) at a greatly reduced rate.
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