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The fast Fourier transform for experimentalists. Part I. Concepts

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The discrete Fourier transform (DFT) provides a means for transforming data sampled in the time domain to an expression of this data in the frequency domain. The inverse transform reverses the process, converting frequency data into time-domain data. Such transformations can be applied in a wide variety of fields, from geophysics to astronomy, from the analysis of sound signals to CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere. Over the course of three articles, our goal is to provide a convenient summary that the experimental practitioner will find useful. In the first two parts of this article, we'll discuss concepts associated with the fast Fourier transform (FFT), an implementation of the DFT. In the third part, we'll analyze two applications: a bat chirp and atmospheric sea-level pressure differences in the Pacific Ocean.

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Computing in Science & Engineering  (Volume:7 ,  Issue: 2 )