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A result that is not exact but is near enough to the correct result for some specified purpose.
A procedure for obtaining such a result.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



replacement of certain mathematical objects by others which are in one sense or another close to the initial objects. Approximation makes it possible to study the numerical characteristics and qualitative properties of the object, reducing the problem to a study of simpler or more convenient objects—for example, objects whose characteristics are easily computed or whose properties are already known. The theory of numbers studies Diophantine approximations—in particular, approximations of irrational numbers by rational numbers. Approximations of curves, surfaces, spaces, and mappings are investigated in geometry and topology. Some branches of mathematics are wholly devoted to approximations, as, for example, the approximation and interpolation of functions and numerical methods of analysis. The role of approximation in mathematics is continually growing. Presently, approximation can be viewed as one of the basic concepts of mathematics.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
A ball park figure for the average annual cost per pupil of pounds 270 means a grand total of pounds 192 million is being wasted each year.
For their New Zealand counterparts - the likes of Dan Carter and Richie McCaw - you're looking at PS500,000 as a ball park figure, including commercial deals, with the NZRFU's shirt sponsorship deal with insurance giant AIG having boosted the coffers.
"I think the 50 point mark will make us safe - but that's only a ball park figure."
"This ball park figure that children now have to reach was set by people who have no experience of working in a classroom with children on different abilities.
'The 1,000 job losses the management did not deny is only a ball park figure,' said Mr Keogh.
He said a ball park figure for the project would have been pounds 25m of public investment.
BALL PARK FIGURE: Stand-off Dan Parks trains in preparation for what he hopes will be his first Scotland start
'As a ball park figure, we reckon there is between one million and three million people who say they run regularly in Britain, but that can be anything from six times a week to once a month.