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# Calculation

A calculation is a deliberate process for transforming one or more inputs into one or more results.

The term is used in a variety of senses, from the very definite arithmetical calculation using an algorithm to the vague heuristics of calculating a strategy in a competition or calculating the chance of a successful relationship between two people.

Multiplying 7 by 8 is a simple algorithmic calculation.

Estimating the fair price for a financial instrument using the Black-Scholes model is a complex algorithmic calculation.

Statistical estimations of the likely election results from opinion polls also involve algorithmic calculations, but give results that are ranges of possibilities rather than exact answers.

Deciding the best way to build a relationship with a member of the opposite sex may also result from a calculation, but is not definite, predictable, nor even clearly defined. This indefinite application of the term gives it a second area of meaning apart from the mathematical senses mentioned above.

Last updated: 03-13-2005 10:23:24