black box definition by Webster's New World
- an intricate, compact electronic component or device, such as a flight recorder, that can be quickly connected or disconnected as a unit
- anything having a complex function that can be observed but whose inner workings are mysterious or unknown
black box definition by American Heritage Dictionary
- a. A device or theoretical construct with known or specified performance characteristics but unknown or unspecified constituents and means of operation.b. Something that is mysterious, especially as to function.
- See flight recorder.
black box - Business Definition
- A device that performs a task, with those using it not understanding how it works. For example, a computer is a black box to most users.
- In computing, financial software that offers information without users being privy to the program's methodology.
black box - Computer Definition
(2) An electronic device that records airplane flight data. Officially known as a "flight data recorder," the unit is highly protected, and in the event of an accident, emits a signal for up to 30 days, even underwater. First used in the late 1950s, Australia was the first country to require their use. Trains have similar black boxes called "train event recorders," which date back to the late 19th century. Also called an "on-train monitoring recorder" (OTMR).
(3) An electronic device that records driving data in motor vehicles, most notably their speed. Officially known as an "event data recorder," automotive black boxes were first used in the late 1990s.
(4) Any custom-made electronic device can be called a black box, such as a protocol converter or encryption system. Such devices are called black boxes, because they are often housed in plain containers without logos, and their purpose may be a mystery to even the experienced observer. Yesterday's black boxes often become today's off-the-shelf products.
black box - Cultural Definition
A crash-resistant steel container that holds instruments that record performance data in airplanes. The data are used to analyze the causes of accidents.
black box - Investment & Finance Definition
A complex software program that is used to determine a price that a security should be sold at, indicate what trades should be done, or give the result of a financial calculation. The inner workings of a black box pricing formula are not explained to the users or are very complex and hard to understand, so users refer to the end result as black box number.