Function Approximation

What Does Function Approximation Mean?

Function approximation is the study of selecting functions in a class that match target functions. It’s a process that is useful in applied mathematics and computer science. Function approximation is often related to a Markov decision process (MDP) which consists of an agent and various states.


Techopedia Explains Function Approximation

To understand function approximation well, it's important to know that in this term the word "function" doesn't refer to an object oriented programming function that takes a variable and provides a result. The word "function" refers to the mathematical use of function, where a function matches one item in a data set to another single item in another data set.

Another key point is that function approximation often works with value iteration in a MDP process. Mathematicians show how function approximation and value iteration can be used to build gameplay strategies for various video games, which is one of the most prominent and easiest ways to show how MDPs work.

In this and other kinds of predictive and modeling work based on MDPs, function approximation plays a key role.


Related Terms

Latest Computer Science Terms

Related Reading

Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…