Concept

Order of approximation

Résumé
In science, engineering, and other quantitative disciplines, order of approximation refers to formal or informal expressions for how accurate an approximation is. Usage in science and engineering In formal expressions, the ordinal number used before the word order refers to the highest power in the series expansion used in the approximation. The expressions: a zeroth-order approximation, a first-order approximation, a second-order approximation, and so forth are used as fixed phrases. The expression a zero-order approximation is also common. Cardinal numerals are occasionally used in expressions like an order-zero approximation, an order-one approximation, etc. The omission of the word order leads to phrases that have less formal meaning. Phrases like first approximation or to a first approximation may refer to a roughly approximate value of a quantity. The phrase to a zeroth approximation indicates a wild guess. The expression order of approximation is sometimes inform
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