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heuristic

[hyoo-ris-tik or, often, yoo-] /hyʊˈrɪs tɪk or, often, yʊ-/
adjective
1.
serving to indicate or point out; stimulating interest as a means of furthering investigation.
2.
encouraging a person to learn, discover, understand, or solve problems on his or her own, as by experimenting, evaluating possible answers or solutions, or by trial and error:
a heuristic teaching method.
3.
of, relating to, or based on experimentation, evaluation, or trial-and-error methods.
4.
Computers, Mathematics. pertaining to a trial-and-error method of problem solving used when an algorithmic approach is impractical.
noun
5.
a heuristic method of argument.
6.
the study of heuristic procedure.
Origin
1815-1825
1815-25; < New Latin heuristicus, equivalent to Greek heur(ískein) to find out, discover + Latin -isticus -istic
Related forms
heuristically, adverb
nonheuristic, adjective
unheuristic, adjective
unheuristically, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for heuristic
  • This bias is called the availability heuristic.
  • Every metaphor that scientists invent has a heuristic value.
  • This process isn't neccessarily transparent to support a claim that it's purely heuristic.
  • All these models have a bit of heuristic handwaving and quantum prestidigitation regarding the details of how a big bang happens.
  • The general heuristic is to only invest in the housing market if you plan on staying there for at least 5 years.
  • Within conservation biology they are a useful but essentially heuristic notion.
  • We mentally compare the additional cost to the pegged cost of the car, which is a fallacious heuristic.
  • So he may decide to take a heuristic approach, and explore his own consciousness.
  • It was found that the majority of students were influenced by the representativeness heuristic.
  • The heuristic used to select the entry to eject is known as the replacement policy.
British Dictionary definitions for heuristic

heuristic

/hjʊəˈrɪstɪk/
adjective
1.
helping to learn; guiding in discovery or investigation
2.
(of a method of teaching) allowing pupils to learn things for themselves
3.
  1. (maths, science, philosophy) using or obtained by exploration of possibilities rather than by following set rules
  2. (computing) denoting a rule of thumb for solving a problem without the exhaustive application of an algorithm: a heuristic solution
noun
4.
(pl) the science of heuristic procedure
Derived Forms
heuristically, adverb
Word Origin
C19: from New Latin heuristicus, from Greek heuriskein to discover
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for heuristic
adj.

"serving to discover or find out," 1821, irregular formation from Greek heuretikos "inventive," related to heuriskein "to find" (from PIE *were- "to find;" cf. Old Irish fuar "I have found") + -istic. As a noun, from 1860.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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heuristic in Technology


1. A rule of thumb, simplification, or educated guess that reduces or limits the search for solutions in domains that are difficult and poorly understood. Unlike algorithms, heuristics do not guarantee optimal, or even feasible, solutions and are often used with no theoretical guarantee.
2. approximation algorithm.
(2001-04-12)

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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