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In mathematics, statistics, and the mathematical sciences, a parameter (G: auxiliary measure) is a quantity that serves to relate functions and variables using a common variable (often t) when such a relationship would be difficult to explicate with an equation. In different contexts, the term may have special uses. Parameter- is a computation made from a population(could be a percent, for example) it is a computation from data values recorded- but it is not actually a data value recorded from a subject. Example: for a population of test scores, a parameter would not be an actual score, but perhaps an average computed from all scores, or a percent computed from all scores.



  • In a section on frequently misused words in his book The Writer's Art, James J. Kilpatrick quoted a letter from a correspondent, giving examples to illustrate the correct use of the word parameter:
  • A parametric equaliser is an audio filter that allows the frequency of maximum cut or boost to be set by one control, and the size of the cut or boost by another. These settings, the frequency level of the peak or trough, are two of the parameters of a frequency response curve, and in a two-control equaliser they completely describe the curve. More elaborate parametric equalisers may allow other parameters to be varied, such as skew. These parameters each describe some aspect of the response curve seen as a whole, over all frequencies. A graphic equaliser provides individual level controls for various frequency bands, each of which acts only on that particular frequency band.
  • If asked to imagine the graph of the relationship y = ax2, one typically visualizes a range of values of x, but only one value of a. Of course a different value of a can be used, generating a different relation between x and y. Thus a is considered to be a parameter: it is less variable than the variable x or y, but it is not an explicit constant like the exponent 2. More precisely, changing the parameter a gives a different (though related) problem, whereas the variations of the variables x and y (and their interrelation) are part of the problem itself.

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