What Does Heuristic Mean?
Heuristics is an approach to problem-solving in which the objective is to produce a working solution within a reasonable time frame. Instead of looking for a perfect solution, heuristic strategies look for a quick solution that falls within an acceptable range of accuracy.
Heuristics are used in machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) when it's impractical to solve a particular problem with a step-by-step algorithm. Because a heuristic approach emphasizes speed over accuracy, it is often combined with optimization algorithms to improve results. Successive iterations are interdependent, and each level of a deep neural network decides which avenues to choose and discard, based on their proximity to the desired solution.
In this context, the term heuristic is sometimes used as a synonym for "short-cut" because this approach to problem-solving does not waste time on things that are not likely to produce acceptable results.