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Parameters are fundamental concepts in mathematics, computer science, and natural sciences. They represent variable values that are used in various contexts and functions to generate specific results or behaviors. Parameters play a crucial role in modeling, analyzing, and solving complex problems, as they allow systems with variable elements to be described and adjusted. This glossary entry explains different types of parameters, their use and significance in various disciplines, as well as their role in software development and optimization.

Definition of Parameter

A parameter (plural: parameters) is a quantity used in mathematical equations, computer programs, physical models, and other scientific or technical applications to describe the characteristics of a system or process. Parameters are variable values that can be used to adjust and control a system. They enable models and functions to be executed with different input data and conditions to investigate various results or behaviors.

Parameters in Mathematics

In mathematics, parameters are values used in functions or equations to describe the behavior of the function or equation. For example, in the function f(x) = ax^2 + bx + c, the coefficients a, b, and c are parameters that determine the behavior of the quadratic function. By changing the values of a, b, and c, different parabolas can be created, which have various shapes and positions.

Parameters in Statistics

In statistics, parameters are values that describe the characteristics of a distribution or a model. For example, the mean and standard deviation are parameters of a normal distribution that determine its shape and position. Estimates of these parameters can be calculated from samples of data to describe the underlying distribution of the population and to perform predictions or hypothesis tests.

Parameters in Physics

In physics, parameters are quantities used in models and equations to describe the properties and behavior of physical systems. For example, in the Schrödinger equation, which describes the wave function of a quantum system, the mass and potential energy are parameters that influence the behavior of the system. Parameters can also be used in classical mechanics, thermodynamics, electromagnetism, and other areas of physics to model and analyze systems and processes.

Parameters in Computer Science

In computer science, parameters are values that are passed to functions or methods in computer programs to control the behavior of the function or method. For example, a function that adds two numbers may accept two parameters as input and return their sum as output. Parameters allow functions and methods to be executed with different input data and conditions and to develop reusable, modular software.

Parameters in Software Development

In software development, parameters are often an essential part of programming languages and development environments. They enable developers to create flexible and reusable software components that can be used in various contexts and applications. Parameters can also be used in the configuration of software tools, libraries, and frameworks to adjust and optimize the behavior and performance of the software.

Parameters in Optimization

Parameters play an important role in the optimization of systems and processes. By adjusting parameters, optimization algorithms such as genetic algorithms or gradient descent methods can be used to find the best possible parameter values for a specific problem or goal. In machine learning theory, the optimization of model parameters and hyperparameters is crucial for the performance and accuracy of learning algorithms and predictive models.

Parameters in Systems Theory

In systems theory, parameters are quantities used in models and equations to describe the properties and behavior of systems. Parameters can be used to analyze and control the dynamics, stability, and performance of systems, including technical, biological, social, and economic systems. The identification and estimation of parameters in system models is an important aspect of system analysis and system design.


Parameters are variable quantities that are used in various disciplines and applications to describe, model, analyze, and control systems and processes. They are a fundamental concept in mathematics, statistics, physics, computer science, software development, optimization, and systems theory. Parameters enable the creation of flexible and adaptable models, functions, algorithms, and software components that can be employed in different contexts and applications.