Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Termination as a technical term has different meanings.
In electronics, it refers to the need to put a terminator (either a resistor or a resistor-capacitor network) on the beginning or end of a transmission line, to prevent signal reflections due to the impedance mismatch between the line and the empty space beyond its end. In computer hardware in particular, terminators are needed in many bus-style communication channels, such as thin-wire Ethernet and SCSI. Some devices that attach to such channels are self-terminating: they are capable of sensing whether a terminator is needed, and configuring themselves accordingly.
In computability theory and computer programming, a crucial part of the definition of an algorithm is that it must terminate—that is, produce its answer after running for a finite number of steps. Whether this number is or isn't too large for practical execution of the algorithm on a real computer is the subject of computational complexity theory.
In numerical analysis, most computations involve working with real numbers, which is a feat provably beyond the capabilities of finite-state machines (which is what all practical digital computers are). In essence, the problem is that an algorithm for computing a real number to infinite precision would never terminate. However, practical algorithms can all be shown to converge, thus, they can be made to terminate simply by accepting a limit on the achievable precision of the computation.
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