There's been a lot of talk of late about signal-to-noise ratios here on MeFi (er, Ashcroft who?...). Generally, we think of noise as something that always degrades the quality of a signal. Sometimes, however, the opposite can be the case. Here's a neat little demonstration of a non-linear system in which noise can be used to amplify a signal that would otherwise be too be faint to detect any other way. It exploits a phenomenon known as Stochastic Resonance.
posted by lagado
on Jan 28, 2001 -