A fudge factor is a number based on observed results as opposed to solid theory, logic or calculations. They are commonly used as a practical measure to overcome uncertainty or complexity. The following are examples.
PhysicsEinstein included an invented "cosmological constant" in his general theory of relativity because his results indicated that the universe was expanding or contracting. This didn't seem right to him, so he included the constant to cancel this out. He later referred to this as "the biggest blunder of my life" as it is now accepted that the universe is indeed expanding.It is a common practice in science to include fudge factors that derive from measured observations that aren't necessarily explainable with theory and calculation.
EngineeringFudge factors may be used in engineering calculations to mitigate risks. These are typically given more formal names as "fudge factor" is commonly interpreted to have negative connotations. For example, an engineer may make a tire 4x stronger than required by anticipated road conditions. The choice of the constant 4 may be somewhat arbitrary.
Project ManagementA project manager may apply a margin of safety into estimates. This may be done using a fudge factor such as multiplying estimates supplied by subject matter experts by 1.5.
This is the complete list of articles we have written about estimates.
If you enjoyed this page, please consider bookmarking Simplicable.
© 2010-2023 Simplicable. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction of materials found on this site, in any form, without explicit permission is prohibited.
View credits & copyrights or citation information for this page.