(Scientific computation) Output from a computation that may not be significant but at least indicates that the program is running. Numbers may be used to placate management, grant sponsors, etc. "Making numbers" means running a program because output - any output, not necessarily meaningful output - is needed as a demonstration of progress.
See pretty pictures, math-out, social science number.
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Nearby terms: NUMA « number crunching « number keys « numbers » number sign » numeric keypad » Numeris