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This article deals with two important issues in digital filter implementation: roundoff noise and limit cycles. A novel class of robust state-space realizations, called normal realizations, is derived and characterized. It is seen that these realizations are free of limit cycles. Another interesting property of the normal realizations is that they yield a minimal error propagation gain. The optimal realization problem, defined as to find those normal realizations that minimize roundoff noise gain, is formulated and solved analytically. A design example is presented to demonstrate the behavior of the optimal normal realizations and to compare them with several well-known digital filter realizations in terms of minimizing the roundoff noise and the error propagation.