Scientific computing as a whole is something of a hybrid field. Applications - as well as software - range from highly specialized operations used in only a narrow field of research to those with a broad appeal that cross disciplinary lines. All researchers, for example, use statistics, no matter what area of science they work in, and, of course, everyone uses word processing.

A third broadly applicable genre is curve-fitting software - packages that help the researcher to organize (or fit) a set of data in a graphic representation (a curve). Today, almost every scientist can use this software, and some disciplines have come to rely on it, such as endocrinology, physiology, and other biomedical fields; organic and inorganic chemistry; physics; and many fields of engineering.

Curve-fitting itself is something of a hybrid. It is virtually universally recognized as a subset of statistical procedures: finding a graphic representation of data...

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