Definition: A function which is not defined for some inputs of the right type, that is, for some of a domain. For instance, division is a partial function since division by 0 is undefined (on the Reals).
See also total function, partial recursive function.
Note: This definition says a function is either partial or total, but not both. Some authors consider that all functions are partial, but some are total, too.
Wikipedia entry for partial function.
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Entry modified 13 September 2007.
HTML page formatted Tue Dec 6 16:16:32 2011.
Cite this as:
Paul E. Black, "partial function", in Dictionary of Algorithms and Data Structures [online], Paul E. Black, ed., U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology. 13 September 2007. (accessed TODAY) Available from: http://www.nist.gov/dads/HTML/partialfunct.html