Autocorrelation, also known as serial correlation, is the correlation of a signal with a delayed copy of itself as a function of delay. Informally, it is the similarity between observations as a function of the time lag between them. The analysis of autocorrelation is a mathematical tool for finding repeating patterns, such as the presence of a periodic signal obscured by noise, or identifying the missing fundamental frequency in a signal implied by its harmonic frequencies. It is often used in signal processing for analyzing functions or series of values, such as time domain signals. Different fields of study define autocorrelation differently, and not all of these definitions are equivalent. In some fields, the term is used interchangeably with autocovariance. Unit root processes, trend stationary processes, autoregressive processes, and moving average processes are specific forms of processes with autocorrelation.
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