In Metallurgy and Materials scienceannealing refers to a heat treatment wherein the microstructure of a material is altered, causing changes in its properties such as strength and hardness. Typically, this results in softening of the metal through removal of crystal defects and the internal stresses which they cause. In the semiconductor industry, silicon wafers are annealed, so that dopant atoms (usually, boron, phosphorus, or arsenic) can be incorporated into substitutional positions in the crystal lattice, resulting in drastic changes in the electrical properties of the semiconducting material.
In computer science, simulated annealing is a technique for searching for a solution in a space otherwise too large for "ordinary" search methods to yield results. It is a probabilistic technique based on formulas from physics describing an annealing process. See the book Numerical Recipes for a good treatment.
In Library and information science, knowledge or information annealing refers to a network-based information system or body of knowledge in which all users of the system are permitted to change the system at will. Over time, the system is said to become better structured and more correct, as knowledgeable users correct existing mistakes and add new content. The original Information annealing software called MaxThink was introduced by Neil Larsen in the early 1980s.
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