from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The act of heating solid metal or glass to high temperatures and cooling it slowly so that its particles arrange into a defined lattice.
  • v. Present participle of anneal.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The process used to render glass, iron, etc., less brittle, performed by allowing them to cool very gradually from a high heat.
  • n. The burning of metallic colors into glass, earthenware, etc.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The process or art of treating substances by means of heat, so as to remove their brittleness and at the same time render them tough and more or less elastic.
  • n. Same as tempering.
  • n. A founders' term for the slow treatment of the clay or loam cores for castings, which, after having been dried, are burned or baked, and then are slowly cooled.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. hardening something by heat treatment


Sorry, no etymologies found.



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  • Of course, annealing could also refer to the state of a glazier when working by the glory hole. Or altar boys.

    November 9, 2007

  • Atoms as salespeople. I'll never see them the same way again. ;-)

    November 9, 2007

  • I actually studied simulated annealing in class today, funny coincidence.

    November 9, 2007

  • I just like the image of the atoms wandering randomly, like Odysseus, through "states of higher energy". Just like the traveling salesman wandering forlornly from city to city, in search of the elusive global optimum.

    November 9, 2007

  • Good heavens, sionnach. Now I'll never confuse the two.

    November 9, 2007

  • Not to be confused with simulated annealing:

    Simulated annealing (SA) is a generic probabilistic meta-algorithm for the global optimization problem, namely locating a good approximation to the global optimum of a given function in a large search space. It is often used when the search space is discrete (e.g., all tours that visit a given set of cities). In favorable cases, simulated annealing may be more effective than exhaustive enumeration of the search space.

    The name and inspiration come from annealing in metallurgy, a technique involving heating and controlled cooling of a material to increase the size of its crystals and reduce their defects. The heat causes the atoms to become unstuck from their initial positions (a local minimum of the internal energy) and wander randomly through states of higher energy; the slow cooling gives them more chances of finding configurations with lower internal energy than the initial one.

    November 9, 2007

  • The process of slowly cooling a completed glass object in an auxiliary part of the glass furnace or in a separate furnace. If a hot glass object is allowed to cool too quickly, it will be highly strained by the time it reaches room temperature and may break from the strain.

    November 9, 2007