A discrete system is a system with a countable number of states. Discrete systems may be contrasted with continuous systems, which may also be called analog systems. A final discrete system is often modeled with a directed graph and is analyzed for correctness and complexity according to computational theory. Because discrete systems have a countable number of states, they may be described in precise mathematical models.
A computer is a finite state machine that may be viewed as a discrete system. Because computers are often used to model not only other discrete systems but continuous systems as well, methods have been developed to represent real-world continuous systems as discrete systems. One such method involves sampling a continuous signal at discrete time intervals.
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- Benjamin C. Kuo (1995). Digital Control Systems (2nd ed.). USA: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-512064-7.