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difference


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There can be some ambiguity in the way this is used, as to whether the outcome can be negative. For two individual numbers or quantities a, b the difference is usually taken as |ab| or the outcome of subtracting the smaller from the larger. From a set of paired values (ai, bi) the difference is usually aibi as a signed value, and the term ‘absolute difference’ should be used if |ab| is intended. For example, in a paired test in statistics it is important to retain the information as to which variable was larger in each pair.

Subjects: Mathematics.


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