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Pulse-rate signals are introduced and the influence of various conventional circuits on their behaviour is considered. An introduction to more complex systems is given by considering the behaviour of certain simple feedback circuits. A survey is then made of the major applications of pulse-rate signals, including regular and stochastic rates, sampled systems, and the digital-differential-analyser. The aim is to show the common features in the various systems, and to provide a common basis for analysing them. Pulse-rate systems can carry out the normal arithmetic and integral operations. They are characterized by relatively low speed, low accuracy in general, and low complexity.