A decimation filter is a digital signal processing filter that approximates a sequence of samples that would have been obtained by sampling at a lower rate.
In digital signal processing, downsampling, compression, and decimation are terms associated with the process of resampling in a multi-rate digital signal processing system. Both downsampling and decimation can be synonymous with compression, or they can describe an entire process of bandwidth reduction (filtering) and sample-rate reduction. When the process is performed on a sequence of samples of a signal or other continuous function, it produces an approximation of the sequence that would have been obtained by sampling the signal at a lower rate (or density, as in the case of a photograph).
Decimation is a term that historically means the removal of every tenth one. But in signal processing, decimation by a factor of 10 actually means keeping only every tenth sample. This factor multiplies the sampling interval or, equivalently, divides the sampling rate. For example, if compact disc audio at 44,100 samples/second is decimated by a factor of 5/4, the resulting sample rate is 35,280. A system component that performs decimation is called a decimator. Decimation by an integer factor is also called compression.