Compute the Z-transform of $y[n] = x[n] + 2x[n-1]$. and find the poles and zeros.

I just bombed an interview where I couldn't do this (because I have no grounding in fundamentals and have worked all from cookbooks). I'm not too bummed because I would have been working at something I wasn't prepared for. You get one guess who would ask this kind of question in a first phone interview.

ANSWER (30 minutes post interview):

$x[n-1] = z^{-1}$

$1 + 2z^{-1}$.


Because the z-transform of an FIR is the coefficients of the impulse response multiplied by the delays.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ What's your question ? $\endgroup$
    – Hilmar
    Oct 12, 2015 at 15:06

1 Answer 1


If you know (or better: understand) the basic $\mathcal{Z}$-transform relation

$$x[n-k]\Longleftrightarrow z^{-k}X(z)$$

then from the given time domain equation you immediately get


Since the transfer function $H(z)$ is the ratio of $Y(z)$ and $X(z)$, you get


  • $\begingroup$ can you modify this to show how you would find the poles and zeros? this has no poles and one zero correct? is it at z^-1 = -2? $\endgroup$
    – panthyon
    Oct 12, 2015 at 15:16
  • $\begingroup$ @panthyon: For the zero you must solve $1+2z^{-1}=0$, which indeed gives you $z=-2$. The filter also has one pole at $z=0$, because the transfer function becomes infinity at $z=0$. $\endgroup$
    – Matt L.
    Oct 12, 2015 at 15:32

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