Contents page

Index (83KB)

to a first approximation

to a first approximation: 1. [techspeak] When one is doing certain
   numerical computations, an approximate solution may be computed by
   any of several heuristic methods, then refined to a final value.
   By using the starting point of a first approximation of the answer,
   one can write an algorithm that converges more quickly to the
   correct result.  2. In jargon, a preface to any comment that
   indicates that the comment is only approximately true.  The remark
   "To a first approximation, I feel good" might indicate that
   deeper questioning would reveal that not all is perfect (e.g., a
   nagging cough still remains after an illness).