An example of parameter is a guideline in which an experiment is to take place.
- Math. a quantity or constant whose value varies with the circumstances of its application, as the radius line of a group of concentric circles, which varies with the circle under consideration
- any constant, with variable values, used as a referent for determining other variables
- : usage objected to by some
- a boundary or limit
- a factor or characteristic: usually used in pl.
Origin of parameterModern Latin parametrum from Classical Greek para-, para- + metron, measure
- Mathematics a. A constant in an equation that varies in other equations of the same general form, especially such a constant in the equation of a curve or surface that can be varied to represent a family of curves or surfaces.b. One of a set of independent variables that express the coordinates of a point.
- a. One of a set of measurable factors, such as temperature and pressure, that define a system and determine its behavior and are varied in an experiment.b. Usage Problem A factor that restricts what is possible or what results: “all the parameters of shelter—where people will live, what mode of housing they will choose, and how they will pay for it” ( New York )c. A factor that determines a range of variations; a boundary: an experimental school that keeps expanding the parameters of its curriculum.
- Statistics A quantity, such as a mean, that is calculated from data and describes a population.
- Usage Problem A distinguishing characteristic or feature.
Origin of parameterNew Latin parametrum a line through the focus and parallel to the directrix of a conic Greek para- beside ; see para- 1. Greek metron measure ; see -meter .
- par′a·met′ric par′a·met′ri·cal
Usage Note: The term parameter, which originates in mathematics, has a number of specific meanings in fields such as astronomy, electricity, crystallography, and statistics. Perhaps because of its ring of technical authority, people have applied parameter more generally in recent years to refer to any factor that determines a range of variations and especially to a factor that restricts what results from a process or policy. In this use, the word parameter is used to mean “the particular value of a parameter,” and comes close to meaning “a set limit or boundary.” For example, a budget can be thought of as a set of parameters that determine a range of activity, much like a set of mathematical parameters that establish the range of effects, or limits, of other variables. The sentence A budget is a framework that defines the financial parameters within which an organization operates was considered acceptable by 81 percent of the Usage Panel in our 2004 survey. Parameter is sometimes used incorrectly when it does not denote a range of variation, as if it were a technical-sounding synonym for characteristic. In 1988, 88 percent of the Usage Panel rejected the sentence The Judeo-Christian ethic is one of the important parameters of Western culture. In 2004, 77 percent rejected this same sentence, suggesting that familiarity has not bred tolerance of this usage.
- (mathematics, physics) A variable kept constant during an experiment, calculation or similar.
- (programming) A name in a function or subroutine definition that is replaced by, or bound to, the corresponding actual argument when the function or subroutine is called: a formal parameter.
- Roughly, a tuple of arguments could be thought of as a vector, whereas a tuple of parameters could be thought of as a covector (i.e., linear functional). When a function is called, a parameter tuple becomes "bound" to an argument tuple, allowing the function instance itself to be computed to yield a return value. This would be roughly analogous to applying a covector to a vector (by taking their dot product (or, rather, matrix-product of row vector and column vect)) to obtain a scalar.
- (programming) The value which is passed into the function to instantiate such a name; the argument or actual parameter.
- A characteristic or feature that distinguishes something from others.
- (geometry) 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.
- The parameter of the principal axis of a conic section is called the latus rectum.
- (crystallography) The ratio of the three crystallographic axes which determines the position of any plane.
- (crystallography) The fundamental axial ratio for a given species.
- (the value used to instantiate the name): Some authors regard use of parameter to mean argument as imprecise, preferring that parameter refers only to the name that will be instantiated, and argument to refer to the value that will be supplied to it at runtime.
From French paramÃ¨tre, from New Latin parametrum (“parameter"), from Ancient Greek Ï€Î±ÏÎ¬ (para, “beside") + Î¼ÎÏ„ÏÎ¿Î½ (metron, “measure").
parameter - Computer Definition
(1) Any value passed to a program by the user or by another program in order to configure the program for a particular purpose. A parameter may be anything; for example, a file name, a coordinate, a range of values, a money amount or a code of some kind. Parameters may be required as in parameter-driven software (see below) or they may be optional. Parameters are often entered as a series of values following the program name when the program is loaded; for example, a DOS switch defines a parameter. In the command dir /p the /p is a parameter switch that means pause after every screenful.
(2) In programming, a value passed to a subroutine or function for processing. Programming today's graphical applications in languages such as C, C++ and Java requires knowledge of hundreds of parameters. In the following C function, which creates the text window for the Windows version of this database, there are 11 parameters passed to the CreateWindow routine. Some of them call yet other functions for necessary information. In order to call this routine in a program, the programmer must determine the values for every parameter. hWndText = CreateWindow ( "TextWClass", NULL, WS_CHILD|WS_BORDER|WS_VSCROLL|WS_TABSTOP, xChar*23+GetSystemMetrics(SM_CXVSCROLL)+8, yChar*4, Rect.right-Rect.left+1-xChar*23 -2*GetSystemMetrics(SM_CXVSCROLL)+5, yChar*(Lines+1)+2, hWnd, IDC_TEXTLIST, (HANDLE)hInstance, NULL );