fudge factor

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fudge factor

A value or parameter that is varied in an ad hoc way to produce the desired result. The terms "tolerance" and slop are also used, though these usually indicate a one-sided leeway, such as a buffer that is made larger than necessary because one isn't sure exactly how large it needs to be, and it is better to waste a little space than to lose completely for not having enough. A fudge factor, on the other hand, can often be tweaked in more than one direction. A good example is the "fuzz" typically allowed in floating-point calculations: two numbers being compared for equality must be allowed to differ by a small amount; if that amount is too small, a computation may never terminate, while if it is too large, results will be needlessly inaccurate. Fudge factors are frequently adjusted incorrectly by programmers who don't fully understand their import.
This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (foldoc.org)
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As an added note, commercial operators need a fudge factor when computing takeoff and landing data, which may be one of the reasons they have a better safety record.
For several years, this magazine has applied a fudge factor to IRI data to allow for Wal-Mart, based on Wal-Mart grocery sales compared to overall supermarket sales.
At a minimum, modelers often incorporate "fudge factors" into their models to achieve the results they were looking for in the first place.
If the specification is very clear and contains all of the proper elements, the commissioning costs are true, and "fudge factors" are not needed to insure against ambiguities.