A sensor measures some physical quantity (like temperature). The measured value is tapped every 100ms or so. An average is calculated over the x most recently measured values. I.e. with every new measurement the oldest value will be discarded, the new value will be included and the average will then be recalculated.

What is a common term for the size x?

EDIT: After having found out, that the term for this specific kind of average is "moving average" and having read the corresponding wikipedia article, I believe "sample size" may be the right term. Would that be correct? Is there a better word?

  • If it's an automatic process, isn't the sample size always the same, e.g., 10 temperatures every 100 ms? So if you're saying this in a technical paper, wouldn't you want to be specific? OTOH, if you're discussing the process in a general way, wouldn't it be reasonable to use X (or some other variable) and define it, e.g., "where X is the number of measured values in the averaged sample"? "An average is calculated over the sample size most recently measured values" doesn't sound grammatical or reasonable to me, but "An average is calculated over the most recently measured values" does. – user21497 Sep 5 '12 at 10:23
  • Yes, the sample size would always be the same, but the sampled values change. Besides it's not for a technical paper - it's for a programming API and therefore I need a short, but concise word. – Alexander Tobias Bockstaller Sep 5 '12 at 10:42
  • "Sample size", "subset size" or (if x remains constant, "fixed subset size") would all be correct. – Zairja Sep 5 '12 at 11:09
  • Then you need a programmer to answer. I'm not a programmer. – user21497 Sep 5 '12 at 11:11
  • This is the "window" or "window size" – Mark Beadles Sep 5 '12 at 14:35

A sample size would refer to the number of measurements that you use in your moving average. It theoretically could be confused with the number of averages you compute from the data, so you might use something like sample window size to be clearer.

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