# parameter

(redirected from Formal parameter)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Financial.

## parameter

1. one of a number of auxiliary variables in terms of which all the variables in an implicit functional relationship can be explicitly expressed
2. a variable whose behaviour is not being considered and which may for present purposes be regarded as a constant, as y in the partial derivative ∂f(x,y)/∂x
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

## Parameter

a variable whose values are used to distinguish elements of a given set. For example, the equation (x — a)2 + (y — b)2 = 1 in rectangular Cartesian coordinates determines the set of all circles of radius 1 in the xOy plane. By setting a = 3 and b = 4, we isolate in this set the completely defined circle with center at (3, 4). Thus, a and b are the parameters of a circle in the set.

## Parameter

in engineering, a quantity that characterizes a certain aspect of a process, phenomenon, system, or device. Examples of such quantities in mechanical systems are mass, coefficient of friction, moment of inertia, and tension. Such parameters as heat capacity, heat flow, and thermal head are used for thermal processes. Typical electrical parameters are resistance, inductance, and capacitance. The physical processes that occur in a system are describable by equations giving the relation between the variable quantities of the processes. Parameters are usually the coefficients of the equations. They can be constants, or they can be variables dependent on time or the system’s coordinates.

The parameters of a system or device can be lumped or they can be distributed in space relative to one, two, or three coordinates. A typical example of a system with distributed parameters is an electric power transmission line, in which the inductance, capacitance, and resistance (conductance) are distributed along the entire length of the line. An example of a lumped parameter is the load on a small segment of a much longer beam.

M. M. MAIZEL

## parameter

[pə′ram·əd·ər]
(crystallography)
Any of the axial lengths or interaxial angles that define a unit cell.
(electricity)
The resistance, capacitance, inductance, or impedance of a circuit element.
The value of a transistor or tube characteristic.
(mathematics)
An arbitrary constant or variable so appearing in a mathematical expression that changing it gives various cases of the phenomenon represented.
(physics)
A quantity which is constant under a given set of conditions, but may be different under other conditions.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

## parameter

(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
);
Copyright © 1981-2019 by The Computer Language Company Inc. All Rights reserved. THIS DEFINITION IS FOR PERSONAL USE ONLY. All other reproduction is strictly prohibited without permission from the publisher.
References in periodicals archive ?
One of these functions, addlist, is called 404 times, passing the address of 100 different actuals for the list header, resulting in 100 aliases for the formal parameter. However, because the lifetime of the formal is limited to this function (it does not call any other function), these relations are not propagated to any other function.
Analyzing aliases of reference formal parameters. In Proceedings of the 12th ACM Symposium on Principles of Programming Languages.
To sum up, the analysis of the formal parameters of the prefixed infinitives shows that the use of the prefix with verbs in this form seems not to be determined by any of these.
The formal parameters have to be bound to actual values before an executable rule can be generated.
The enterprise required of innovative professionals "is not so much the creative spark of genius that invents a new idea," but rather the skill and ego strength which enable them to move beyond the formal parameters of their job, "maneuvering through and around the organization in sometimes risky, unique, and novel ways" (Kanter, 1983, p.
The compiler automatically checks the actual calling parameters against the called procedure formal parameters and flags any mismatches.
Such oppositions stem directly from his practice: For example, the artist is a supreme manipulator of form, but his pieces were often impossible to ground within established formal parameters. His interventions were open-ended and aleatory (the ghostly shape of evaporating breath on the lid of a lacquered black piano in Breath on Piano, 1993); they invested in the poesis of the ordinary (tires reengineered into a sculpture in Recaptured Nature, 1990).
The earliest of the five short videos Bonnie Camplin presented as part of the Tate's "Light Box" series of artist's films and videos was Good Health, 2003, and it set the tone as well as the formal parameters for the rest.
Depending on whether we are thinking of a value table as a relation or as a function, we refer to Year and State either as keys or as formal parameters. A single row of the table is an instance, and the part of the row containing just the parameter values is the parameter instance.

Site: Follow: Share:
Open / Close