Encoding analog signal amplitudes into digitized form has become one
of the fundamental operations in microelectronics integrated circuits. Hundreds
of engineers and scientists have contributed to the development of this field.
Recent surveys have studied the evolution of A/D chip performance over the
past few years; these include a 2010 study by Jonsson  and Murmann's online
spreadsheet covering the period 19972012 . It is naive to think that one
could do justice to such a history here in only a few pages. Moreover, many
authorative publications have already treated the electronic and practical
details as well as the historical background. Examples include fairly recent
books by Walt Kester of Analog Devices  and Marcel Pelgrom of NXP, formerly
Philips ; a 1978 tutorial article by Bernard Gordon ; and a textbook
on pulse code modulation by K. W. Cattermole . Gordon, who until recently
was still active at Analogic Corp. and who in the 1950s pioneered analog-to-digital
converters (ADCs) for avionics and missile telemetry, noted in his 1978 paper
that the overall field of data conversion has sprung from two distinct fountainheads.
[One was in the] late 1930s [with the invention of] coding and decoding for
pulse c<?Pub Caret?>ode modulation, primarily for telephone communication.
Not until the early 1950s [did the second arrive:] instrumentation-oriented
data conversion. To a large extent the efforts from these two diverse sources
have proceeded independently and with some resulting confusion in terminology