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Estimating a function at a point which is larger than (or smaller than) all the points at which the value of the function is known.
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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



in mathematics and statistics, the approximate determination of the values of a function f(x) at points x lying outside the interval [x0, xn] on the basis of the function’s values at the points x0 < x1 <... < xn In parabolic extrapolation, which is the most widely encountered type, the value of f(x) at x is approximated by the value of a polynomial Pn(x ) of degree n that assumes at the n + 1 points xi the specified values yi = f (xi). Interpolation formulas are used for parabolic extrapolation.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


(mathematics, algorithm)
A mathematical procedure which estimates values of a function for certain desired inputs given values for known inputs.

If the desired input is outside the range of the known values this is called extrapolation, if it is inside then it is called interpolation.

The method works by fitting a "curve" (i.e. a function) to two or more given points and then applying this function to the required input. Example uses are calculating trigonometric functions from tables and audio waveform sythesis.

The simplest form of interpolation is where a function, f(x), is estimated by drawing a straight line ("linear interpolation") between the nearest given points on either side of the required input value:

f(x) ~ f(x1) + (f(x2) - f(x1))(x-x1)/(x2 - x1)

There are many variations using more than two points or higher degree polynomial functions. The technique can also be extended to functions of more than one input.
This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (foldoc.org)
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