Last month, a horse named Nyquist won the 142nd Kentucky Derby. Of course, I immediately thought of the groundbreaking engineer and communications theorist Harry Nyquist, whose work is fundamental to data conversion
applications. He’s a true engineering celebrity of the sort that I wrote aboutin an earlier Editor’s Note. It was a thrill to see the name of one of our engineering heroes being honored in the mainstream international media.
Harry Nyquist came to the US from Sweden in 1907 at the age of 18, and promptly earned BSEE and MSEE degrees from the University of North Dakota and then a Ph.D. in physics from Yale. He went on to do amazing things at AT&T and Bell Labs, and his name lives on today most notably in the Nyquist sampling theorem, also known as the Nyquist–Shannon sampling theorem. So when I saw the horse Nyquist, my mind immediately started to think up engineering jokes: I wonder if Nyquist will run twice as fast as the next fastest horse…How do we know that the horse we see is real and not an aliased image…Will his lane at the starting gate be the Nyquist Zone? Then I discovered Nyquist the horse is actually named for a hockey player. My short-lived excitement was crushed.
In this issue, our feature article authors Colm Slattery and Ke Li take a look at a particularly timely issue, as more and more environmental regulations to control and monitor liquid waste are appearing worldwide. Electromagnetic flow technology is the choice for this particular application, and the trend is toward an oversampled approach, which challenges the ADC requirements. In addition to oversampling design considerations, their detailed article discusses the significant power
challenges involved in the application.
In the 141st running of the Preakness, Nyquist came in third, so no Triple Crown bid for this horse. But those of you involved with mixed-signal system design, know that Nyquist, the sampling theorem, can never really be beaten. It is also known to occasionally bite you.