critical mass

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critical mass:

see chain reactionchain reaction,
self-sustaining reaction that, once started, continues without further outside influence. Proper conditions for a chain reaction depend not only on various external factors, such as temperature, but also on the quantity and shape of the substance undergoing the
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Critical Mass


the smallest mass of a fissionable substance at which a self-sustaining fission chain reaction of atomic nuclei can occur; it is characterized by the approach of the neutron multiplication factor to 1. The corresponding dimensions and volume of the device in which a chain reaction takes place are also called critical.

critical mass

[′krid·ə·kəl ′mas]
The mass of fissionable material of a particular shape that is just sufficient to sustain a nuclear chain reaction.

critical mass

In physics, the minimum amount of fissionable material required to sustain a chain reaction. Of a software product, describes a condition of the software such that fixing one bug introduces one plus epsilon bugs. (This malady has many causes: creeping featurism, ports to too many disparate environments, poor initial design, etc.) When software achieves critical mass, it can never be fixed; it can only be discarded and rewritten.
References in periodicals archive ?
Kjellberg's painstaking process to create Critical Mass is worth reiterating.
Garre responded that the university determines critical mass by conducting surveys asking students whether or not they feel racially isolated, and using other enrollment data.
Consistently recognized by Forrester Research as a leading interactive agency, Critical Mass operates globally from offices in Calgary, Toronto, Chicago, New York, London, Costa Rica, and Amsterdam.
Motorists often respond with annoyance, complaining that Critical Mass messes up traffic.
Critical Mass used Etre's findings and recommendations to inform the development of a landmark in web design.
Suess's fictional Whos in Whoville, Critical Mass is a collective "We are Here
In a nutshell: Nancy Keystone and her Critical Mass Performance Group shoot for the moon.
NASA and Critical Mass are employing a web strategy that aims to provide the public with content tailored to its interests; inspire young people by giving them a rewarding on-line experience; and involve the public by providing an outlet through which it could become directly involved with the agency.
Public Citizen's Critical Mass Energy and Environment Program documents how the NEI regularly showers Congress--including members of both major parties--with political contributions.
Yet some proponents of Coney Island bristle at such a "seasonal" suggestion, arguing that the community over 35,00 strong is critical mass enough to support any number of service-oriented retailers.
Since then, this has doubled with PCI-X and could well double again before InfinBand achieves critical mass.
It is particularly acute within the personal lines and standard commercial lines segments where critical mass, scale and efficiency are keys to survival in today's consolidating marketplace.