I have a confusion regarding time scaling of discrete time signals.

Let u[n] be the discrete time unit step signal(or sequence)

Now if i plot u[n/3] i know there will be two zeros added between each previous samples(samples before scaling).

But when i tried plotting the same on MATLAB i got the same plots for u[n] and u[n/3] and even for u[4n].

How could this be?

I am attaching the MATLAB code :

close all;
clear vars;
title('discrete unit step');
title('time scaled discrete unit step');

I know this is a very silly doubt but please help me come out of this confusion.

I have also attached the plots which i am getting on MATLAB

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ Try using a sinusoid signal instead. The step function is not interesting enough for this experiment. $\endgroup$ – Cris Luengo Apr 25 at 15:02
  • $\begingroup$ Matlab will just round down for $u[n/3]$ when $n$ is 1,2. So it is not inserting errors. $\endgroup$ – IanJ Apr 25 at 16:02
  • $\begingroup$ @CrisLuengo Thank you very much for your response but my purpose of asking this is that i want to know whether or not u[n/3] and u[n] are actually same and if yes then how? $\endgroup$ – Pulkit Bishnoi Apr 26 at 6:04
  • $\begingroup$ @IanJ Can you please suggest me a code by which i can check this because i am not quite getting your point $\endgroup$ – Pulkit Bishnoi Apr 26 at 6:06
  • $\begingroup$ But you are not indexing u[n/3], you are sampling your (continuous) step function at t/3. This is why I suggest you use a sinusoid. You’ll see it change in your three plots, you’ll see more clearly what it is that you’re doing. $\endgroup$ – Cris Luengo Apr 26 at 13:08

Now if i plot u[n/3] i know there will be two zeros added between each previous samples(samples before scaling).


You are confusing up-sampling with time scaling. The time scaled version of a unit step is a unit step. You would only insert 2 zeros if you up-sample by a factor of 3.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you very much for your response. $\endgroup$ – Pulkit Bishnoi Apr 25 at 14:42
  • $\begingroup$ Like you said that the time scaled response of unit step is a unit step,but my confusion is how would i define u[n/3] for all the n which are not multiples of 3.Because the argument in the discrete sequence have to be integer(n/3 must be integer) $\endgroup$ – Pulkit Bishnoi Apr 25 at 14:45

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