Precise vs. accurate

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There's a difference between precise and accurate. Weather predictions are often precise in their reporting of facts but wrong in their final outcome. Or, take digital audio. It's not hard for audio engineers to focus on the precise—getting the right bits in the right place, but it's rare when everything else is taken into account so it can be accurate, like timing, or wave shape, or noise. Getting things accurate is far harder than precise. We are reminded of this fact every time we listen to reproduced music—the elements we have captured are perfect down to the smallest detail, yet it still doesn't sound live. Precise, but not accurate to the event. It's intoxicating to believe when we get a few things right that the whole will somehow transcend the pieces, mimicking their precision. But it's a shortsighted view. HT to Skip Volkmann, Editor of HP's Developers’ Portal for the idea of the post.
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Paul McGowan

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