Browse Definitions:


Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

A continuum is a continuous system or range in which adjacent elements do not vary from each other in any marked degree although the endpoints of the system may be drastically different.

Any continuous whole comprising individual units can be considered a continuum, although a progression of some sort is often considered part of the definition.  The set of real numbers (R) is sometimes called the continuum because it is intuitive to think of its elements as corresponding one-to-one with the points on a geometric line. 

Examples of continuums:

Sequences of real numbers, ranges of temperatures and the notes of a musical scale are a few common real-world examples of continuums.

The space-time continuum, first described in Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity, is the enmeshed combination of our three perceived physical dimensions, plus time. Time itself is sometimes referred to as a “free-flowing continuum.” Similarly, 3-D space can be considered an unbounded continuum in which exactly three numerical coordinates are necessary to uniquely define the location of any particular point.

Structuredunstructured and semi-structured data are sometimes referred to as the data continuum, with unstructured data being the least formatted and structured data being the most formatted.

See a PBS video explaining the combination of space and time into a single continuum:

This was last updated in February 2016

Continue Reading About continuum

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.


Extensiones de Documento y Formatos de Documento

Accionado por:


  • risk map (risk heat map)

    A risk map, also known as a risk heat map, is a data visualization tool for communicating specific risks an organization faces. A...

  • internal audit (IA)

    An internal audit (IA) is an organizational initiative to monitor and analyze its own business operations in order to determine ...

  • pure risk (absolute risk)

    Pure risk, also called absolute risk, is a category of threat that is beyond human control and has only one possible outcome if ...


  • cloud ecosystem

    A cloud ecosystem is a complex system of interdependent components that all work together to enable cloud services.

  • cloud services

    Cloud services is an umbrella term that may refer to a variety of resources provided over the internet, or to professional ...

  • uncloud (de-cloud)

    The term uncloud describes the action or process of removing applications and data from a cloud computing platform.


  • federated identity management (FIM)

    Federated identity management (FIM) is an arrangement that can be made among multiple enterprises to let subscribers use the same...

  • cross-site scripting (XSS)

    Cross-site scripting (XSS) is a type of injection security attack in which an attacker injects data, such as a malicious script, ...

  • firewall

    In computing, a firewall is software or firmware that enforces a set of rules about what data packets will be allowed to enter or...




  • bad block

    A bad block is an area of storage media that is no longer reliable for storing and retrieving data because it has been physically...

  • all-flash array (AFA)

    An all-flash array (AFA), also known as a solid-state storage disk system, is an external storage array that uses only flash ...

  • volume manager

    A volume manager is software within an operating system (OS) that controls capacity allocation for storage arrays.


  • hybrid hard disk drive (HDD)

    A hybrid hard disk drive is an electromechanical spinning hard disk that contains some amount of NAND Flash memory.