An extract on #accurate
Accuracy has two definitions:
More commonly, it is a description of systematic errors, a measure of statistical bias; as these cause a difference between a result and a "true" value, ISO calls this trueness.
Alternatively, ISO defines accuracy as describing a combination of both types of observational error above (random and systematic), so high accuracy requires both high precision and high trueness.
In simplest terms, given a set of data points from a series of measurements, the set can be said to be precise if the values are close to the average value of the quantity being measured, while the set can be said to be accurate if the values are close to the true value of the quantity being measured. The two concepts are independent of each other, so a particular set of data can be said to be either accurate, or precise, or both, or neither.
In the fields of science and engineering, the accuracy of a measurement system is the degree of closeness of measurements of a quantity to that quantity's true value. The precision of a measurement system, related to reproducibility and repeatability, is the degree to which repeated measurements under unchanged conditions show the same results. Although the two words precision and accuracy can be synonymous in colloquial use, they are deliberately contrasted in the context of the scientific method.
Interestingly, the field of statistics, where the interpretation of measurements plays a central role, prefers to use the terms bias and variability instead of accuracy and precision: bias is the amount of inaccuracy and variability is the amount of imprecision.
A measurement system can be accurate but not precise, precise but not accurate, neither, or both. For example, if an experiment contains a systematic error, then increasing the sample size generally increases precision but does not improve accuracy. The result would be a consistent yet inaccurate string of results from the flawed experiment. Eliminating the systematic error improves accuracy but does not change precision.
A measurement system is considered valid if it is both accurate and precise. Related terms include bias (non-random or directed effects caused by a factor or factors unrelated to the independent variable) and error (random variability).
The terminology is also applied to indirect measurementsthat is, values obtained by a computational procedure from observed data.
In addition to accuracy and precision, measurements may also have a measurement resolution, which is the smallest change in the underlying physical quantity that produces a response in the measurement.
In numerical analysis, accuracy is also the nearness of a calculation to the true value; while precision is the resolution of the representation, typically defined by the number of decimal or binary digits.
In military terms, accuracy refers primarily to the accuracy of fire (or "justesse de tir"), the precision of fire expressed by the closeness of a grouping of shots at and around the centre of the target.