AskDefine | Define computation

Dictionary Definition



1 the procedure of calculating; determining something by mathematical or logical methods [syn: calculation, computing]
2 problem solving that involves numbers or quantities [syn: calculation, figuring, reckoning]

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. The act or process of computing; calculation; reckoning.
  2. The result of computation; the amount computed.

Derived terms


the act or process of computing
the result of computation

See also



From computatio.




Extensive Definition

Computation is a general term for any type of information processing that can be represented mathematically. This includes phenomena ranging from human thinking to calculations with a more narrow meaning. Computation is a process following a well-defined model that is understood and can be expressed in an algorithm, protocol, network topology, etc.

Classes of computation

Computation can be classified by at least three orthogonal criteria: digital vs analog, sequential vs parallel, batch vs interactive.
In practice, digital computation is often used to simulate natural processes (for example, Evolutionary computation), including those that are more naturally described by analog models of computation (for example, Artificial neural network). In this situation, it is important to distinguish between the mechanism of computation and the simulated model.

Computations as a physical phenomenon

A computation can be seen as a purely physical phenomenon occurring inside a closed physical system called a computer. Examples of such physical systems include digital computers, quantum computers, DNA computers, molecular computers, analog computers or wetware computers. This point of view is the one adopted by the branch of theoretical physics called the physics of computation.
An even more drastic point of view is the postulate of digital physics that the evolution of the universe itself is a computation.
Computation is a form of calculation, the procedure of calculating; determining something by mathematical or logical methods or problem solving that involves numbers or quantities.

Mathematical models of computation

In the theory of computation, mathematical models of computers are defined. A computation is the evolution over discrete time epochs of this model. Typical mathematical models of computers are the following: Different mathematical models of computers can be classified according to their expressive power, see the Chomsky hierarchy.


The word computation has an archaic meaning (from its Latin etymological roots), but the word has come back in use with the arising of a new scientific discipline: computer science.
computation in Arabic: تحسيب
computation in Hebrew: חישוב (מדעי המחשב)
computation in Croatian: Računanje
computation in Dutch: Theoretische informatica
computation in Portuguese: Computação
computation in Sundanese: Komputasi
computation in Thai: การคำนวณ

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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