# How to compare differences in waves?

I have a series of waves that I would like to compare to one another. The measurements are two-dimensional with time on the x-axis and an intensity measurement on the y-axis.

I'd like some way of quantifying how different each wave is to the other. Is there a technique to do what I am looking for?

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It all depends on what you mean by "different". There are plenty of things you could do. If they have the same functional forms:

1. compare amplitudes.
2. compare phases.
3. compare other parameters determining the wave form. E.g., if the waves are gaussians you could compare their variance. If they are sinusoidal, you could compare frequence.

Should they be different functionally from each other, then you can

1. compare average amplitudes.
2. compare their spectra.
3. compare average variances.

As Bernhard pointed out, you could also analyze the correlation function between the waves (provided such correlations should exist, of course).

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Don't forget correlations. – Bernhard Oct 29 '12 at 11:12