Branch of applied mathematics that studies methods for solving complicated equations using arithmetic operations, often so complex that they require a computer, to approximate the processes of analysis (i.e., calculus). The arithmetic model for such an approximation is called an algorithm, the set of procedures the computer executes is called a program, and the commands that carry out the procedures are called code. An example is an algorithm for deriving by calculating the perimeter of a regular polygon as its number of sides becomes very large. Numerical analysis is concerned not just with the numerical result of such a process but with determining whether the error at any stage is within acceptable bounds.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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