One of the more prosaic but necessary features of almost any information processing system is gain control. All such systems must have some way to adjust the relationship between input, which can vary dramatically depending on changes in the environment, and output, which is almost always required to remain within a limited range of amplitudes. While the volume control on a radio or the brightness control on a computer monitor are not the most exciting or highly touted features, imagine such devices without these forms of gain control. Many an engineer can attest to the large effort required to design automatic gain controls in telephones, cameras, and radio transmitters.
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