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A wavelet is a wave-like oscillation with an amplitude that begins at zero, increases, and then decreases back to zero. It can typically be visualized as a 'brief oscillation' like one recorded by a seismograph or heart monitor. Generally, wavelets are intentionally crafted to have specific properties that make them useful for signal processing. Using a 'reverse, shift, multiply and integrate' technique called convolution, wavelets can be combined with known portions of a damaged signal to extract information from the unknown portions. A wavelet is a wave-like oscillation with an amplitude that begins at zero, increases, and then decreases back to zero. It can typically be visualized as a 'brief oscillation' like one recorded by a seismograph or heart monitor. Generally, wavelets are intentionally crafted to have specific properties that make them useful for signal processing. Using a 'reverse, shift, multiply and integrate' technique called convolution, wavelets can be combined with known portions of a damaged signal to extract information from the unknown portions. For example, a wavelet could be created to have a frequency of Middle C and a short duration of roughly a 32nd note. If this wavelet were to be convolved with a signal created from the recording of a song, then the resulting signal would be useful for determining when the Middle C note was being played in the song. Mathematically, the wavelet will correlate with the signal if the unknown signal contains information of similar frequency. This concept of correlation is at the core of many practical applications of wavelet theory. As a mathematical tool, wavelets can be used to extract information from many different kinds of data, including – but not limited to – audio signals and images. Sets of wavelets are generally needed to analyze data fully. A set of 'complementary' wavelets will decompose data without gaps or overlap so that the decomposition process is mathematically reversible. Thus, sets of complementary wavelets are useful in wavelet based compression/decompression algorithms where it is desirable to recover the original information with minimal loss. In formal terms, this representation is a wavelet series representation of a square-integrable function with respect to either a complete, orthonormal set of basis functions, or an overcomplete set or frame of a vector space, for the Hilbert space of square integrable functions. This is accomplished through coherent states. The word wavelet has been used for decades in digital signal processing and exploration geophysics. The equivalent French word ondelette meaning 'small wave' was used by Morlet and Grossmann in the early 1980s. Wavelet theory is applicable to several subjects. All wavelet transforms may be considered forms of time-frequency representation for continuous-time (analog) signals and so are related to harmonic analysis. Almost all practically useful discrete wavelet transforms use discrete-time filterbanks. These filter banks are called the wavelet and scaling coefficients in wavelets nomenclature. These filterbanks may contain either finite impulse response (FIR) or infinite impulse response (IIR) filters. The wavelets forming a continuous wavelet transform (CWT) are subject to the uncertainty principle of Fourier analysis respective sampling theory: Given a signal with some event in it, one cannot assign simultaneously an exact time and frequency response scale to that event. The product of the uncertainties of time and frequency response scale has a lower bound. Thus, in the scaleogram of a continuous wavelet transform of this signal, such an event marks an entire region in the time-scale plane, instead of just one point. Also, discrete wavelet bases may be considered in the context of other forms of the uncertainty principle.

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