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In applied mathematics, the difference between a value and an estimate of that value. In statistics, a common example is the difference between the mean age of a given group of people (seemean, median, and mode) and that of a sample drawn from the group. In numerical analysis, an example of round-off error is the difference between the true value of pi and commonly substituted expressions like and shorter versions like 3.14159. Truncation error results from using only the first few terms of an infinite series. Relative error is the ratio of the size of an error to the size of the quantity measured, and percentage error is relative error expressed as a percent.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on error, visit Britannica.com.