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Please bear with me, I know some of you will scoff but I have looked on Wiki and in various literature (see below) and can't quite get a handle on a few things.

I am a general business programmer, in so much as I very rarely perform any complicated maths/physics related programming.

Anyway, whilst at Uni and studying Computer Networks I was introduced to Fourier analysis down at the physical level. I had trouble understanding the actual application of the analysis (as described in A Tannenbaum's Computer Networks) he just throws in some equations and asserts that they are used to approximate a signal modulated to carry data. I could also never understand the relationship between harmonics and the signal.

Lastly, in summary, is this analysis used to pick up from a physical medium, ie re-construct, retrieve the data initially sent.

Thanks,

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You can watch first 4 courses of "Computational methods for data analysis" by Nathan Kutz in Coursera. He clearly explains what is going on in Fourier transform with very simple mathematics. –  Deniz Jan 26 '13 at 13:20
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Could you formulate a more specific question? I don't mean to discourage you or turn you away, but right now what you seem to be saying is "I don't understand Fourier analysis. Please explain." which is far too vague and broad to be answered in this forum. Perhaps if you typed in a specific equation from Tanenbaum's book, with surrounding text that mentions any suppositions or restrictions on applicability and asked about the parts that you are having difficulty understanding, people would be more likely to help you. –  Dilip Sarwate Jan 26 '13 at 14:28

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