Signal processing is the analysis, interpretation, and manipulation of signals. Signals of interest include sound, images, biological signals such as ECG, radar signals, and many others. Processing of such signals includes filtering, storage and reconstruction, separation of information from noise (for example, aircraft identification by radar), compression (for example, image compression), and feature extraction (for example, speech-to-text conversion).
In communication systems, signal processing only occurs at OSI layer 1, the physical layer (modulation, equalization, multiplexing, radio transmission, etc) in the seven layer OSI model, as well as at OSI layer 6, the presentation layer (source coding, including analog-to-digital conversion and data compression).
Signals are electrical representations of time-varying or spatial-varying physical quantities, either analog or digital, and may come from various sources. In the context of signal processing, arbitrary binary data streams are not considered as signals, but only digital signals that are representations of analog physical quantities.
For analog signals, signal processing may involve the amplification and filtering of audio signals for audio equipment or the modulation and demodulation of signals for telecommunications. For digital signals, signal processing may involve digital filtering and compression of digital signals.
- Analog signal processing—for signals that have not been digitized, as in classical radio, telephone, radar, and television systems
- Digital signal processing—for signals that have been digitized. Processing is done by digital circuits such as ASICs, FPGAs, general-purpose microprocessors or computers, or specialized digital signal processor chips.
- Statistical signal processing—analyzing and extracting information from signals based on their statistical properties
- Audio signal processing—for electrical signals representing sound, such as music
- Speech signal processing—for processing and interpreting spoken words
- Image processing—in digital cameras, computers, and various imaging systems
- Video processing—for interpreting moving pictures
- Array processing—for processing signals from arrays of sensors
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