It is called variable to a symbol that acts in the propositions, formulas, functions and algorithms of statistics and mathematics and that has the particularity of power adopt different values.
According to their characteristics, it is possible to speak of different types of variables, such as quantitative variables, the qualitative variables, the independent variables, the dependent variables and the random variables. This time, we will focus on continuous variables.
A Continuous variable is the one that can adopt any value within the framework of a interval which is already predetermined. Between two of the values, there can always be another intermediate value, capable of being taken as a value by the continuous variable.
These particularities differentiate the continuous variable from the discrete variable, which can only acquire a value of one set of numbers. There are gaps between the successive values that can be observed: that is, no “Fill” with other intermediate values.
A person may have one or two televisions, but never one and a half; However, if we talk about cups of sugar, between one and the other there are a large number of intermediate values, which appear as we add grains.
Continuous variables, in theory, cannot be measured with absolute accuracy: the value that is observed depends on the instrument used for the measurement. Let us consider continuous variables from the weight of a person. May weigh 78.5 kg, 78, 54 kg or 78, 546 kg according to the accuracy of the balance. The example reveals that, when working with continuous variables, one must accept the existence of a Measurement error that you should try to minimize, since it implies a difference between the true value and the measured value.
It is important to highlight that there are always measurement errors, since this is something inherent to instruments measurement; however, in each case there may be different causes. On the other hand, it is possible to anticipate some of them, and thus try to reduce their impact through procedures such as calibration and compensation.
The accuracy in measurement It is something as relative as errors, since it depends to a large extent on the intentions of the subject who carries it out: when we buy food in the market, we are not interested in knowing if the weight indicated on the packages is exact, but we are satisfied with that the manufacturers do not try to deceive us by giving us a considerably less quantity.
Do all the 1 kilogram bags of rice have the same amount of grain and weigh exactly the same? Well, the first answer can be answered, since for this it is enough to count the grains; However, the second involves the problem of mistakes of measurement, since according to the scale used we could say yes or no.
When we work with continuous variables, we are especially concerned with the limits, which we can call “minimum” and “maximum”, and the margin of error, which must also be applied to know if we have reached these points. Having established this structure, it is possible to take advantage of this concept to carry out endless jobs.
In video game programming, for example, the concept of a continuous variable can appear in various cases, such as the acceleration of characters or objects: it is always necessary to have a range of possible values, such as the minimum and maximum speed, among which many others appear, whose precision is determined according to the resources of the machine.
The higher the precision, which in this case could be linked to the number of decimal places, the smoother the representation graphical on-screen, since the adjustments made to locate the objects will not be easily perceived by the players.