An approximation is anything that is similar but not exactly equal to something else. The term can be applied to various properties (e.g. value, quantity, image, description) that are nearly but not exactly correct; similar, but not exactly the same e.g. The approximate time was 10 o’clock. Although approximation is most often applied to numbers, it is also frequently applied to such things as mathematical functions, shapes, and physical laws. In science, approximation can refer to using a simpler process or model when the correct model is difficult to use. An approximate model is used to make calculations easier. Approximations might also be used if incomplete information prevents use of exact representations. The type of approximation used depends on the available information, the degree of accuracy required, the sensitivity of the problem to this data, and the savings (usually in time and effort) that can be achieved by approximation.

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