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The modeling of data is an alternative to conventional use of the fast Fourier transform (FFT) algorithm in the reconstruction of magnetic resonance (MR) images. The application of the FFT leads to artifacts and resolution loss in the image associated with the effective window on the experimentally-truncated phase encoded MR data. The transient error modeling method treats the MR data as a subset of the transient response of an infinite impulse filter (H(z) = B(z)IA(z)). Thus, the data are approximated by a deterministic autoregressive moving average (ARMA) model. The algorithm for calculating the filter coefficients is described. It is demonstrated that using the filter coefficients to reconstruct the image removes the truncation artifacts and improves the resolution. However, determining the autoregressive (AR) portion of the ARMA filter by algorithms that minimize the forward and backward prediction errors (e.g., Burg) leads to significant image degradation. The moving average (MA) portion is determined by a computationally efficient method of solving a finite difference equation with initial values. Special features of the MR data are incorporated into the transient error model. The sensitivity to noise and the choice of the best model order are discussed. MR images formed using versions of the transient error reconstruction (TERE) method and the conventional FFT algorithm are compared using data from a phantom and a human subject. Finally, the computational requirements of the algorithm are addressed.