A vector a is transformed via a discrete cosine transform (DCT) to give vector b. For example in Matlab


Vector a is also transformed via a discrete Fourier transform (DFT) to give vector c. E.g.


What is the fastest way to determine c from b without using a or retrieving it? For example,


is not allowed.

  • $\begingroup$ Is this a homework question? And, what do you mean by "fastest"? $\endgroup$
    – MBaz
    Commented Mar 25, 2021 at 13:29
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @MBaz Not a homework question. I've been reading around calculating a DCT using an FFT (e.g. dsp.stackexchange.com/a/10606) and was interested in the ability to directly transform between the two domains. I guess "fastest" is in the eye of the beholder. Lets go for a big-O style metric $\endgroup$
    – David C
    Commented Mar 25, 2021 at 13:57

1 Answer 1


Behind an FFT or a DCT operator, which can be implemented as a matrix product. Depending on the shape of your discrete vectors, you may have $b=D\times a$ and $c=F\times a$. So you can find your answer with a suitable matrix product. You can also find fast algorithms by decomposing each of the above matrices in simpler matrix product, or using lifting-like implementation. The very fastest can be more difficult to find.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for this. Could you expand on the lifting approach? My understanding is that lifting is primarily useful for solving non-linear problems but I'm unsure as to how it might be used to speed up this operation? $\endgroup$
    – David C
    Commented Mar 29, 2021 at 11:00
  • $\begingroup$ Lifting is indeed a term with many meaning in different fields. A lifting scheme for filter banks (applicable to DFT, DCT) is a technique to better interleave "filter taps" and "subsampling", allowing faster operations, and also the introduction of (useful) non-linearities $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 29, 2021 at 11:34
  • $\begingroup$ Cool, thanks, I'll check it out. $\endgroup$
    – David C
    Commented Mar 29, 2021 at 13:18

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