Computation is what you do when you calculate something, like a simple math problem or something involving quantum mechanics or — worse — even your taxes.

People have invented all kinds of machines to help with computation, from the abacus to the computer, and, in fact, when computers were first invented (and when one computer could easily fill a large room), using a computer was called computation. Much of what made computers so revolutionary was that in a relatively short time they could do a complex mathematical computation that would take a human many lifetimes to do.

Definitions of computation
  1. noun
    the procedure of calculating; determining something by mathematical or logical methods
    synonyms: calculation, computing
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    (mathematics) the transfer of a quantity from one side of an equation to the other along with a change of sign
    number crunching
    performing complex and lengthy numerical calculations
    mathematical operation, mathematical process, operation
    (mathematics) calculation by mathematical methods
    the act of calculating again (usually to eliminate errors or to include additional data)
    the act of changing the arrangement of a given number of elements
    the act of arranging elements into specified groups without regard to order
    the mathematical process of obtaining the derivative of a function
    maximisation, maximization
    the mathematical process of finding the maximum value of a function
    an operation used in the calculus whereby the integral of a function is determined
    exponentiation, involution
    the process of raising a quantity to some assigned power
    arithmetic operation
    a mathematical operation involving numbers
    matrix operation
    a mathematical operation involving matrices
    drawing a figure satisfying certain conditions as part of solving a problem or proving a theorem
    relaxation, relaxation method
    a method of solving simultaneous equations by guessing a solution and then reducing the errors that result by successive approximations until all the errors are less than some specified amount
    type of:
    procedure, process
    a particular course of action intended to achieve a result
  2. noun
    problem solving that involves numbers or quantities
    synonyms: calculation, figuring, reckoning
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    (mathematics) calculation of the value of a function outside the range of known values
    (mathematics) calculation of the value of a function between the values already known
    a change in the units or form of an expression: "conversion from Fahrenheit to Centigrade"
    approximation, estimate, estimation, idea
    an approximate calculation of quantity or degree or worth
    derivative, derived function, differential, differential coefficient, first derivative
    the result of mathematical differentiation; the instantaneous change of one quantity relative to another; df(x)/dx
    the result of a mathematical integration; F(x) is the integral of f(x) if dF/dx = f(x)
    estimation of the amount of lumber in a log
    the rate of change (at a point) of the angle between a curve and a tangent to the curve
    data conversion
    conversion from one way of encoding data to another way
    digitisation, digitization
    conversion of analog information into digital information
    credit, credit rating
    an estimate, based on previous dealings, of a person's or an organization's ability to fulfill their financial commitments
    dead reckoning, guess, guessing, guesswork, shot
    an estimate based on little or no information
    guesstimate, guestimate
    an estimate that combines reasoning with guessing
    overestimate, overestimation, overrating, overreckoning
    a calculation that results in an estimate that is too high
    underestimate, underestimation, underrating, underreckoning
    an estimation that is too low; an estimate that is less than the true or actual value
    partial, partial derivative
    the derivative of a function of two or more variables with respect to a single variable while the other variables are considered to be constant
    indefinite integral
    the set of functions F(x) + C, where C is any real number, such that F(x) is the integral of f(x)
    definite integral
    the integral of a function over a definite interval
    type of:
    problem solving
    the thought processes involved in solving a problem
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