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DFT21: Discrete Fourier Transform in the 21st century

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posted on 2021-09-07, 18:44 authored by Prasanta PalPrasanta Pal, Shataneek Banerjee, Amardip Ghosh, David R. Vago, Judson Brewer

Knowingly or unknowingly, digital-data is an integral part of our day-to-day lives. Realistically, there is probably not a single day when we do not encounter some form of digital-data. Typically, data originates from diverse sources in various formats out of which time-series is a special kind of data that captures the information about the time-evolution of a system under observation. How- ever, capturing the temporal-information in the context of data-analysis is a highly non-trivial challenge. Discrete Fourier-Transform is one of the most widely used methods that capture the very essence of time-series data. While this nearly 200-year-old mathematical transform, survived the test of time, however, the nature of real-world data sources violates some of the intrinsic properties presumed to be present to be able to be processed by DFT. Adhoc noise and outliers fundamentally alter the true signature of the frequency domain behavior of the signal of interest and as a result, the frequency-domain representation gets corrupted as well. We demonstrate that the application of traditional digital filters as is, may not often reveal an accurate description of the pristine time-series characteristics of the system under study. In this work, we analyze the issues of DFT with real-world data as well as propose a method to address it by taking advantage of insights from modern data-science techniques and particularly our previous work SOCKS. Our results reveal that a dramatic, never-before-seen improvement is possible by re-imagining DFT in the context of real-world data with appropriate curation protocols. We argue that our proposed transformation DFT21 would revolutionize the digital world in terms of accuracy, reliability, and information retrievability from raw-data.


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Brown University

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  • United States of America