benchmark

[bench-mahrk]
noun
1.
a standard of excellence, achievement, etc., against which similar things must be measured or judged: The new hotel is a benchmark in opulence and comfort.
2.
any standard or reference by which others can be measured or judged: The current price for crude oil may become the benchmark.
3.
Computers. an established point of reference against which computers or programs can be measured in tests comparing their performance, reliability, etc.
4.
Surveying. Usually, bench mark. a marked point of known or assumed elevation from which other elevations may be established. Abbreviation: BM
adjective
5.
of, pertaining to, or resulting in a benchmark: benchmark test, benchmark study.
verb (used with object)
6.
to test (something) in order to develop a standard: IT benchmarked the new software.
7.
to measure (something) against a standard: executive salaries benchmarked against the industry.
Also, bench mark.


Origin:
1835–45; bench + mark1

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
benchmark (ˈbɛntʃˌmɑːk)
 
n
1.  BM a mark on a stone post or other permanent feature, at a point whose exact elevation and position is known: used as a reference point in surveying
2.  a.  a criterion by which to measure something; standard; reference point
 b.  (as modifier): a benchmark test
 
vb
3.  to measure or test against a benchmark: the firm benchmarked its pay against that in industry

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

benchmark
"surveyor's point of reference," 1838, from a specialized surveyors' use of bench; figurative sense is from 1884.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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FOLDOC
Computing Dictionary

benchmark definition

benchmark
A standard program or set of programs which can be run on different computers to give an inaccurate measure of their performance.
"In the computer industry, there are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and benchmarks."
A benchmark may attempt to indicate the overall power of a system by including a "typical" mixture of programs or it may attempt to measure more specific aspects of performance, like graphics, I/O or computation (integer or floating-point). Others measure specific tasks like rendering polygons, reading and writing files or performing operations on matrices. The most useful kind of benchmark is one which is tailored to a user's own typical tasks. While no one benchmark can fully characterise overall system performance, the results of a variety of realistic benchmarks can give valuable insight into expected real performance.
Benchmarks should be carefully interpreted, you should know exactly which benchmark was run (name, version); exactly what configuration was it run on (CPU, memory, compiler options, single user/multi-user, peripherals, network); how does the benchmark relate to your workload?
Well-known benchmarks include Whetstone, Dhrystone, Rhealstone (see h), the Gabriel benchmarks for Lisp, the SPECmark suite, and LINPACK.
See also machoflops, MIPS, smoke and mirrors.
Usenet newsgroup: news:comp.benchmarks.
Tennessee BenchWeb (http://netlib.org/benchweb/).
[Jargon File]
(2002-03-26)
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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Example sentences
The contractually agreed performance target was to beat the benchmark by one percentage point.
Understanding of survey tools, focus groups and benchmark data collection.
But this year, as oil prices have soared, a gap has opened up between the two
  benchmark crudes.
Today, we're getting much closer to having camera phones that allow us to
  achieve this benchmark.
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