In physics and engineering, any characteristic curve that shows the relationship between certain input and output parameters, for example:
- I-V or current-voltage characteristic, the current in a circuit as a function of the applied voltage
- Receiver operating characteristic
- Light characteristic, pattern of a lighted beacon
- Characteristic (algebra) of a ring R, a number that describes what happens to integers when interpreted in R
- Characteristic function (disambiguation), usually the indicator function of a subset, though the term has other meanings in specific domains
- Characteristic polynomial, a polynomial associated to a square matrix in linear algebra
- Euler characteristic, a topological invariant
- Characteristic subgroup, a subgroup that is invariant under all automorphisms in group theory
- Method of characteristics, a technique for solving partial differential equations
- Characteristic, integer part of a common logarithm
- Another name for ability score in Dungeons & Dragons
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