Fascinating word: Heuristics. Some definitions follow.

Heuristics: Of or constituting an educational method in which learning takes place through discoveries that result from investigations made by the student.

Computer Science: Relating to or using a problem-solving technique in which the most appropriate solution of several found by alternative methods is selected at successive stages of a program for use in the next step of the program.

A heuristic is a technique that helps you look for an answer. Its results are subject to chance because a heuristic tells you only how to look, not what to find. It doesn't tell you how to get directly from point A to point B; it might not even know where point A and point B are. In effect, a heuristic is an algorithm in a clown suit. It's less predictable, it's more fun, and it comes without a 30-day, money-back guarantee.

Code Complete - 2nd Ed., by Steve McConnell; Chapter 2 - Parag. 21


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