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1 definition found
 for Parameter
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  Parameter \Pa*ram"e*ter\, n. [Pref. para- + -meter: cf. F.
     param[`e]tre.]
     1. A constant number which is part of a theory, function, or
        calculation, whose value is not determined by the form of
        the theory or equation itself, and may in some cases be
        arbitrary assigned.
        [PJC]
  
     2. Specifically:
        (a) (Math.) A term applied to some characteristic
            magnitude whose value, invariable as long as one and
            the same function, curve, surface, etc., is
            considered, serves to distinguish that function,
            curve, surface, etc., from others of the same kind or
            family. --Brande & C.
        (b) (Conic Sections) (in the ellipse and hyperbola), a
            third proportional to any diameter and its conjugate,
            or in the parabola, to any abscissa and the
            corresponding ordinate.
            [1913 Webster]
  
     Note: The parameter of the principal axis of a conic section
           is called the latus rectum.
           [1913 Webster]
  
     3. (Science) Any constant number which is required to
        calculate values of observed phenomena according to a
        theory, but the value of which must be determined by
        experiment, and cannot be calculated from the fundamental
        assumptions of the theory. In general, a theory which has
        a large number of parameters, though it may accurately
        predict experimental results, is considered as having less
        explanatory power and as being less esthetically pleasing
        than a theory with fewer parameters.
        [PJC]
  
     4. (Crystallog.) The ratio of the three crystallographic axes
        which determines the position of any plane; also, the
        fundamental axial ratio for a given species.
        [1913 Webster]
  
     5. The limits, guidelines, or assumptions from within which
        an activity is carried out; as, new arrivals need to learn
        the parameters of the research in our department.
        [PJC]
  
     6. (Computers) A variable used in a calculation within a
        computer program which must be assigned a value before the
        calculation can be performed; as, let's plug in the
        parameters and see what the result is.
        [PJC]
  
     7. A characteristic or element, especially one used as a
        criterion for evaluation or judgment; as, a useful
        parameter for determining efficiency.
        [PJC]

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