- freely available
Mathematics 2015, 3(2), 299-318; doi:10.3390/math3020299
Abstract: Although versions of Poisson’s Summation Formula (PSF) have already been studied extensively, there seems to be no theorem that relates discretization to periodization and periodization to discretization in a simple manner. In this study, we show that two complementary formulas, both closely related to the classical Poisson Summation Formula, are needed to form a reciprocal Discretization-Periodization Theorem on generalized functions. We define discretization and periodization on generalized functions and show that the Fourier transform of periodic functions are discrete functions and, vice versa, the Fourier transform of discrete functions are periodic functions.
Versions of Poisson’s summation formula have already been the subject of many publications and it is clear that it plays a very central role in mathematics, physics and electrical engineering. Many publications describe the interaction of discretization (or sampling) and periodization. In some publications we find a clear statement that the Poisson’s Summation Formula (PSF) is linked to both discretization and periodization [1–3], and in rare cases we find that the PSF actually is a discretization-periodization theorem . Despite the circumstance that PSF versions are commonly understood as discretization - periodization relationships, it appears to be difficult to find a simple statement on the special interrelation between discretization and periodization. In this paper, we show that two complementary formulas, very closely related to Poisson’s classical summation formula, are needed to form a complete, i.e., reciprocal, discretization-periodization theorem in the tempered distribution sense.
Most publications about discretization and periodization relationships are so far application driven. A comprehensive derivation of interactions between sampling (discretization) and periodization has already been performed for Gabor systems. Orr and Janssen initially covered the transition from continuous settings to discrete settings [5,6] and later Kaiblinger  covered the transition from discrete settings to continuous settings. Finally, Søndergaard summarized and complemented these results in  and, amongst other things, wrote a Poisson Summation Formula without sums but with sampling and periodization operators instead (, Theorem A.1), very similar to the derivation in this paper but in S0(ℝ), Feichtinger’s algebra .
Another comprehensive treatment of interactions between discretization and periodization is given in Ozaktas , whereby discreteness and periodicity are characterized as Fourier duals such as translation and modulation. Amongst others, the notion of discrete functions is clarified as being Fourier duals of periodic functions. Other publications establish a connection between sampling and periodization, on the one hand, and Shannon’s Sampling Theorem on the other  without compelling necessity to mention Poisson’s summation formula in this context. There are even excellent signal processing textbooks that can manage without Poisson’s summation formula but not without describing its impacts, e.g., . Poisson’s summation formula also plays an important role in wavelet theory [13–15], although only in proofs, because it provides transitions from continuous to discrete settings.
Lastly, Benedetto and Zimmermann investigated the validity of Poisson’s summation formula in several classical spaces in analysis including the space of tempered distributions [3,16]. They define sampling and periodization operators and, amongst others, characterize uniform sampling as the Fourier transform of periodization.
The Poisson Summation Formula is also honored as being the link between the classical Fourier transform and Fourier series in Girgensohn , Hunter and Nachtergaele  and Strichartz . Indeed, we will see that this link is discretization, formally correct only in the sense of generalized functions, called distributions. Hence, in order to formally treat discrete functions correctly, we will need the theory of distributions, basically developed by Laurent Schwartz in [20,21], with contributions by Temple  and Lighthill , Gelfand and Schilow [23,24] and Zemanian . For our purposes, it is especially convenient to show everything within the space of tempered distributions , because the Fourier transform of a tempered distribution is again a tempered distribution [21,26]. Note that the Fourier transform definition can even be more generalized to spaces larger than , see  for example, but extending these results accordingly is beyond the scope of this paper.
Conversely, results presented in this paper may also hold in less general settings. For engineering purposes, it often suffices to apply the definitions of both sampling and periodization and use their symbols, but neglect their tempered distribution nature, in order to simplify the already established formulas found in textbooks. A first impression of this technique is given in Section 5 that uses almost no generalized functions theory.
Section 2 will first familiarize the reader with the notations used throughout this article. Section 3 explains the proof method; readers familiar with distribution theory may skip this section. In Section 4 we define discretization and periodization as operations on suitable subspaces of tempered distributions and in Section 5 we hope to motivate the reader to apply them to already known results in textbooks. Section 6 provides calculation rules for both discretization and periodization, such that the proof of our theorem in Section 7 reduces to two lines. Finally, we summarize our results in Section 8 and provide an outlook in Section 9.
We mainly follow established notations as in Schwartz , including his Fourier transform definition Equation (1), Benedetto , Strichartz  and Walter , and we substantially follow Woodward  and Bracewell . One of the primary goals of this paper is to extend Bracewell’s idea of establishing symbolic calculation rules in signal processing for educational purposes. His textbook Fourier Transform and its Applications is a highly recognized standard work in electrical engineering literature. By replacing Bracewell’s Shah symbol III by two Shah-like symbols and we achieve three things: (1) we are able to express the interrelation between discretization and periodization, (2) we are able to express the duality of both symbols and (3) we overcome difficulties that arise when conventional dissimilar symbols are used.
The application of a distribution to some test function is denoted as ⟨f, φ⟩ and, in particular, if f is a locally integrable function such that the following integral exists, we define it by
For singular distributions, e.g., , it is required to write down their definition explicitly, i.e., ⟨δ, φ⟩ := φ(0). The Fourier Transform for integrable functions φ ∈ L1(ℝn) is defined by
The translation operator τ for some function and some constant a ∈ ℝn is defined by (τaf)(t) := f(t − a). For generalized functions it is defined by
Additionally, we abbreviate τaδ:= δa for translated Dirac impulses δ. Often in the literature we find a Dirac impulse train, also Dirac comb as
As mentioned already, the Fourier transform of a tempered distribution is again a tempered distribution. So, for convenience, we stay in . Additionally, we sometimes need to restrict ourselves to several subspaces of and would like to remind the reader that the following continuous embeddings of distribution spaces
Additionally, we require the space of slowly increasing test functions and the space of rapidly decreasing distributions to be the image of in with respect to , i.e., and . Recall that and are the spaces of multiplication operators in and convolution operators in , respectively . Finally, all those spaces X(ℝn) we abbreviate to X, for functions depending on t ∈ ℝn we write φ instead of φ(t). For test functions in we use α, β, for test functions in we use φ, ψ and for generalized functions in or we use f, g.
In signal processing it is well-known that sampling a function means periodizing its spectrum. And, vice versa, periodizing a function means sampling its spectrum. Our goal is now, first, to formulate this in the simplest way and, secondly, to prove it the widest possible way. We are especially interested under which conditions these statements hold in the widest sense.
Denoting a generalized function as f and its spectrum as f, we additionally require a symbol for discretization, say , and one for periodization, say . We will then write a sampled function as and a periodized function as . This notation is deliberately chosen such that it reminds us of linear algebra notations like y = Ax. Having a symbol for discretization, we are now able to express the relationship between Fourier series s and the Fourier transform as , i.e., first applying discretization and then to f corresponds to what we know as the Fourier series of f, shortly where ◦ is concatenation. Now, coming back to the first two sentences in this section, our goal is to prove that and in the generalized functions sense if f satisfies suitable properties. But what do these properties look like, why do we need distribution theory and does this really have applications?
Properties. We will see that f must be an element in to fulfill the first equation, and an element in to fulfill the second.
3.1. Distribution Theory
Indeed, the only way to prove these equations is using the theory of generalized functions (distribution theory) because sampling some function φ(t), often explained via definition
As usually done in distribution theory, we will claim in the following, e.g., Equations (5), (7), (10), (17), (21) and (23), that all functions involved must be test functions, i.e., they are in . This is required in order to be able to roll-off the multiplication of functions with generalized functions to the multiplication of functions with test functions in definition ⟨αf, φ⟩ := ⟨f, αφ⟩ such that is secured for all . The property of being infinitely differentiable is a pure technical requirement in distribution theory that does not restrict the theorem we prove for two reasons: (1) In distribution theory, every locally integrable function (considered as generalized function) is already infinitely differentiable and (2) distribution theory is connected to its applications via several approximation theorems (see e.g., [27,30]). For example, every continuous function but also every generalized function can be approximated by test functions, i.e., functions in the classical sense being infinitely differentiable. We therefore always operate (as usual) on either spaces of generalized functions or spaces of test functions.
The theorem we prove corresponds to the Fourier transform in , the widest possible comprehension of the Fourier transform as automorphism (according to Laurent Schwartz’ distribution theory [20,21]) and is, hence, most general in this sense. It comprises, moreover, several classical definitions of the Fourier transform. We note, for example, that there is no need to have a special Fourier transform P designed for periodic functions. Also constants, in particular also being periodic functions, can be Fourier transformed without difficulties. Finally, all results presented in this paper can be used in pure symbolic calculations once they have been proven (in ). Our theorem shows that discretization and periodization are intertwined by the Fourier transform, symbolically and where · is an operator argument placeholder.
We often find the Shah symbol III in the literature (Bracewell , Feichtinger  and Lecture Notes, e.g., ) as an abbreviation for the Dirac impulse train Equation (4). It is convenient to only have one symbol because the Dirac impulse train can be used to both discretize and periodize functions: Multiplication with it yields discrete functions, convolution with it yields periodic functions . Furthermore, having only one symbol avoids introducing a theory of operations on functions which is especially of advantage for reasons of brevity in engineering books. However, any interaction between discretization and periodization cannot be expressed via one symbol.
A major difficulty in is that the product of two tempered distributions is generally not defined. We will therefore use Laurent Schwartz’  space of multiplication operators in the following definition.
Definition 1 (Discretization). For slowly increasing functions and increments we claim that the tempered distribution defined by
Discretization will be well-defined in this sense and it is clear that these series indeed converge in , see  for example. This definition corresponds in fact to the multiplication of function α with a Dirac comb . It is today already a common engineering practice to model the sampling process by the multiplication with the Dirac comb . However, an operator approach is much more advantageous as we will see later. It can already be found as combT (α) in , later re-published in .
Analogous to discretization where the space of multiplication operators in is required, we will now need the space of convolution operators in , again, introduced by Laurent Schwartz in .
Definition 2 (Periodization). For rapidly decreasing tempered distributions and increments we claim that the tempered distribution defined by
Again, it is clear that periodization is well-defined in this sense and that these series do converge in . In some textbooks, this operator can be found as repT f [1,34,35], as fper , as , as Pf , as  as Tf  or as fT . However, is similar to and can, hence, be used for symbolic calculations as we will see later. We will in particular see that, by using and , especially Poisson Summation Formulas reduce to something that is much easier to understand.
The interaction of discretization and periodization is ubiquitous in many calculations that we find in today’s textbooks. In order to reveal these relations, in this section we use Equations (5) and (6), for the sake of simplicity, neglect considerations in the tempered distribution sense. We give three examples: first, we show that Fourier Series result from Fourier transforming discretized functions. Secondly, we develop periodized functions into Fourier series seeing that it is related to discretization. And, thirdly, we apply the definitions of Section 4 to known versions of Poisson’s summation formula found in the literature.
5.1. Fourier Series and Fourier Transform
Using our definition of discretization we verify that Fourier series actually correspond to a concatenation of discretization followed by Fourier transformation. Hence, having and , the definition of S as given in Equation (3) is obsolete; we may now write instead of introducing Equation (3).
Lemma 1 (Fourier Series vs Fourier Transform). Let, then
Proof. We may apply to and, accordingly, converges in such that . Due to the convergence of in we may calculate term by term. Symbolically, we obtain
A consequence is the following equality in the operations sense
5.2. Fourier Series of Periodized Functions
For further motivation we show that a Discretization-Periodization Theorem for Schwartz functions can already be derived from the above definitions: We construct the Fourier series of a periodically continued function and see that it is indeed related to discretization. Note that every periodic function f can be written as for some function ϕ. Because it follows that is a tempered distribution. As every periodic function can be developed into a sum of ek(t) = e2πi t·k, k ∈ ℤn, we will now do this for . Starting from
Inserting now the definition of discretization yields this important relationship, a formula being closely related to Poisson’s summation formula, between periodization and discretization
Indeed, Equation (10) can be more generalized and an inversion formula can be found. It will, moreover, be surprising to learn at this point that both operators in Equations (5) and (6) have already been defined in Woodward’s 1953 textbook  leading to Equations (28) and (29), meant on functions in . In Section 7, we will extend these results to generalized functions and (see also Appendix B).
5.3. Versions of Poisson Summation Formulas
In general, each Poisson Summation Formula is only one of two possible statements: It either turns discretization into periodization resulting in Equations (23) and (28) or it turns periodization into discretization resulting in Equations (24) and (29) via the Fourier transform. And special cases lead to Equations (16) and (27). This can be seen by applying Equations (5) and (6) to PSF versions found in the literature. In the following we distinguish a general version, a classical version, a symmetrical version and, finally, a special version.
For simplicity, let and T ∈ ℝ+ (one-dimensional case) for now. Recall that PSF are valid on , see e.g., [3,9]. In Section 7, we will extend these results to generalized functions and (see also Appendix B). We note that Equation (11) corresponds to Equations (24) and (29) in Section 7.
A general version of Poisson’s summation formula can be found for example as
Now, let t ≡ 0, then Equation (11) reduces to the classical version of Poisson’s summation formula
Now, let T ≡ 1, then Equation (12) reduces to the symmetrical version of Poisson’s summation formula
Now, let us assume that instead of , we indeed have some suitable , let f ≡ δ, then Equation (11) is valid in (known result) and reduces to the special version of Poisson’s summation formula
Finally, by looking at the from bottom-to-top derivation above, we note that there is a certain degree of freedom on what side to move the Fourier transform. This allows us, in contrast to what is already done, to periodize f instead of f, resulting in the other two Equations (23) and (28) we will prove in Section 7. These formulas are, in contrast to Equations (24) and (29), very difficult to find in the literature. However,  is one of the rare sources where beside the classical Poisson Summation Equation (37.1) in  another dual formula Equation (37.2) in  can be found instead of only one; Equation (37.2) in  corresponds to Equations (23) and (28) and Equation (37.1) in  corresponds to Equations (24) and (29).
6. Calculation Rules
In order to present a concise proof of Theorem 1, we need to compile few important operator properties. We note that the Fourier transform of a Dirac comb within is commonly known (e.g., [16,39]) whereas the (asymmetric) duality of multiplication and convolution within is a more generalized case of commonly known (symmetric) versions (e.g., in ), it can be found in .
Dirac Comb Identity. The first, maybe surprising observation by looking at the two definitions above is that both operations generate a Dirac impulse train by either sampling the function that is constantly 1 or by periodically repeating δ, symbolically
Moreover, 1 and δ are unitary elements with respect to multiplication and convolution in , respectively. They are also a Fourier pair, more precisely 1 = δ and δ = 1. Also note that the Shah symbol III in Equation (4) is called the sampling or replicating symbol in  because it can be used for either sampling (discretizing) or replicating (periodizing) a function. However, instead of III we now have either or, alternatively, which allows us to switch from discretization to periodization or from periodization to discretization (needed in proof of Theorem 1).
Dirac Comb Fourier Transform. We also need that and, accordingly,
Omitting Brackets. A very convenient property of both operators is that brackets can be omitted. For reasons of brevity, we move this proof to Appendix A.
Lemma 2. Let and. Then
It means that discretization is realized via multiplication and periodization is realized via convolution with III. Note that replacing III by operations , is the central proposal in this paper.
Multiplication and Convolution. Recall that multiplication or convolution products do not necessarily exist in . We must rather restrict our operator arguments to suitable subspaces of (see operator definitions), i.e., to and respectively.
Lemma 3 (Multiplication and Convolution). Let and . Then
A detailed treatment of multiplication and convolution in including a proof of this lemma is given in , Théorème XV, p. 124. Notice that can rarely be found in the literature ([30,53–56]) while is better known. A description of interactions of with , aside from , is even more seldom in the literature, e.g., [57,58] describing the Fourier transform as an algebra isomorphism .
7. The Discretization-Periodization Theorem
For the sake of simplicity, we first consider only increments of Tν = 1 in all dimensions 1 ⩽ ν ⩽ n and then generalize these results in a corollary below.
7.1. Unitary Increments
Everything is prepared now to present a discretization - periodization theorem in . It consists of two formulas very closely related to Poisson’s Summation Formula starting from discretization and from periodization, respectively. Compared to classical versions of Poisson’s summation formula we simply hide one sum in and the other in , such that these formulas become better understandable.
Theorem 1 (Discretization vs. Periodization, unitary case). Let and. Then
Note that, in contrast to and , both formulas hold for Schwartz functions understood as rapidly decreasing tempered distributions because on the one hand, and on the other. Hence, it proves Equation (10) in particular (see Appendix B).
Furthermore, recall that and are the Fourier series S of α according to Equation (7). It is, in other words, the Fourier transform of discrete functions S. And the second equation corresponds to the Fourier transform of periodic functions P (Figure 3). See one-page summaries: Figure 3.31 in  or Prolog II in , for example, embracing all four different Fourier transforms and Fourier series including their (either integral or discrete) inversion formulas.
Proof. Formally, according to the calculation rules shown above the following equalities hold
Finally, we use the theorem to conclude that Equation (8) is complemented having
7.2. Arbitrary Increments
In our Equations (1), (3) and (4) as well as in Equations (16), (23) and (24) we used periodic functions with periods of Tν = 1 in all dimensions 1 ⩽ ν ⩽ n, which is convenient but not the general case. The following lemma helps to generalize our results to arbitrary periods and increments.
Lemma 4 (Reciprocity). The Fourier transform of a stretched/compressed Dirac impulse train is a compressed/stretched Dirac impulse train. Formally, let then
A proof of this lemma is straight forward from what is known in the literature (see for example [16,32,40,49]). We will omit it here for the sake of conciseness. Let us now see the theorem in the arbitrary increments case.
Corollary 1 (Discretization vs. Periodization, general case). Let and and let then
We have seen that, in the generalized functions sense, there is a (Fourier transform) duality between discrete and periodic functions. The theorem states that the generalized function being discretized must not grow faster than polynomials and the generalized function being periodized must rapidly decay to zero in order to obtain convergence on both sides of the equations in the generalized functions sense. Furthermore, it is shown that both formulas in this theorem are closely related to the classical Poisson Summation Formula. This means that these conditions will have impact on the validity of Poisson Summation Formula versions. We have, furthermore, seen that one formula in this theorem corresponds to Fourier series and the other formula corresponds to the Fourier transform of periodic functions. Finally, by choosing two similar symbols for discretization and periodization, we showed that an easy-to-use symbolic calculation scheme is obtained.
The theorem above is indisputably connected to the classical sampling theorem, see, e.g., Woodward  or Benedetto and Zimmermann . An all-embracing theory including the Sampling Theorem will, however, require to have two more operations, one reversing discretization and one reversing periodization, i.e., interpolation of discrete functions and restriction of a periodic function to one period. Surprisingly, S′ has been suitable to model discretization and periodization but will not be suitable to model their inverses. Further studies are required.
MSC classifications: 46F10, 46F12
Conflicts of Interest
The author declares no conflicts of interest.
Proof of Lemma 2. Discretization, . We know that and with it follows that such that it can be applied to test functions . Due to the convergence of in S′ and the continuity of multiplication : we may calculate term by term
Proof of Lemma 2. Periodization, . We know that and with it follows that such that it can be applied to test functions . Due to the convergence of in and the continuity of convolution we may calculate term by term, we use Equations (A3), (A4), (A5), (A3), (A4), in this order, obtaining
The following definitions and calculation rules are needed for the above proof.
Definition A1. Let and. Then
Lemma A1. Letand. Then where
Proof. We may write
The last expression is a function in because with and it follows that . Finally, because is an automorphism in . □
Definition A2. Let and. According to Equation (A2) it follows that such that
Lemma A2. Letand. Then
Proof. Let us initially operate on finite sums over k ∈ ℤn with |k| ⩽ N ∈ ℕ where |k| := max1⩽ν ⩽n |kν| is the maximum norm, and let
It then follows that φN ∈ , the space of bounded test functions  and . With finite sums we start operating on φN ∈ obtaining
In this last expression we apply a generalized function to some test function . We must justify that this makes sense as and are no dual spaces. But is continuously embedded in which is the dual space of such that the convergence of is secured for all and . And the following expressions converge due to the completeness of
Lemma A3. Let and, then
Proof. With Equation (A2) we know that and because we may apply to f φ and obtain
Let us now have a look at the beauty of “sortedness” of functions in S′ (Figure 4). It is this “sortedness” that led us from constant function 1 via the Gaussian function up to the discovery of δ.
It is interesting to observe that there is a triplet of embedded automorphisms involved in this scheme where .
Also note that discrete functions are being injected on the smooth side of S′ (left) whereas periodic functions are being injected on the rough side of (right). But both are actually located on the same side of (opposite of ) because left hand side and right hand side are being identical, recall that . So, reminds us of a torus.
These studies have essentially been conducted at the Ludwig Maximilians University Munich, Institute of Mathematics in 1996. The author is particularly grateful to Professor Otto Forster who made this study possible, especially for directing the authors interests towards Laurent Schwartz’ distribution theory. The author is also very grateful to Professor Hans G. Feichtinger, University of Vienna, for many valuable hints and fruitful discussions and, finally, to the anonymous reviewers who significantly helped improving this manuscript.
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