Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Ad hoc

Ad hoc is a Latin phrase which means for this [purpose]. It generally signifies a solution that has been tailored to a specific purpose, such as a tailor-made suit, a handcrafted network protocol, and specific-purpose equation and the like.
In computer networking, ad-hoc is a connection method for wireless LANs that requires no base station devices discover others within range to form a network "for those" computers. See IEEE 802.11. The alternative is infrastructure, with a base station that manages the network for its range.
Ad hoc is also used to describe a particular type of committee; one which is formed to deal with a particular issue, and disbanded after the issue is resolved. These committees provide stop gap or temporary measures to solve problems that are not resolved by ordinary processes of the organization to which the committee belongs.
In philosophy and science, ad hoc often means the addition of corrollary hypotheses or adjustment to a philosophical or scientific theory to save the theory from being falsified by compensating for anomalies not anticipated by the theory in its unmodified form. Philosophers and scientists are often suspicious or skeptical of theories that rely on continual, inelegant ad hoc adjustments.