One of the definitions of "to clamp" is, according to wiktionary:
(transitive) To modify a numeric value so it lies within a specific range.
Is "to clamp" the best term for this?
It sounds a bit technical to me.
From a technical point of view, I find that definition quite misleading.
The verb to clamp is commonly employed in electronics to denote the action of a circuit which shifts a (typically periodic) voltage so that either its minimum value or its maximum one become fixed to a certain predefined value (e.g. 0 volt). A circuit of this sort is called a clamper.
The reason for the above terminology is that that kind of circuits work, with a bit of imagination, like a clamp tool which presses the minimum or the maximum values against the predefined value.
A circuit which prevents a voltage from exceeding certain limits is instead called a clipper because its action is that of clipping any voltage that tends to pass said limits. Thus, even outside electronics, the action of modifying a numeric value so it lies within a specific range looks to me more similar to the action of clipping than that of clamping, at least in the common technical terminology.
Clipping is an action that can cause a loss of information: all the values beyond the limits are flattened within the limits. There is, however, another possibility which is lossless: you can, in fact, also scale a quantity so that it fits (smoothly) within a certain range. The verb to adapt is also frequently employed with this meaning, and it has probably a more general connotation than to scale.
Therefore, I would not use to clamp anyway, but I would choose to clip, to scale or to adapt, depending on the way the modification of the value is carried out.
In Mathematics, the term 'limit' is used to specify the range of values that an integer can take. Other possible words are 'scope', 'spectrum' or simply 'vary from xx to xx'. Consider the example :
- The value of 'i' can vary from 10 to 20.
- The scope of the angle is up to 270 degrees.
Additionally, 'clamp' has a definition : "maintain the voltage limits of (an electrical signal) at prescribed values.", according to Google. So I guess that it is acceptable. I've seen it being used in many places once I searched around for its usage over the internet.
Bounded is the term used when a value has an upper (greatest) value and a lower (least) value.
Maintaining the boundaries of a bounded variable is done through floor and ceiling functions
floor(X) = Maximum of X and lower bound
ceiling(X) = Minimum of X and upper bound
By using floor and ceiling functions you are bounding the range of values a variable can have.
To clamp means "to attach or constrict, with something that pinches or is wrapped tightly."
A clamp is an object that clamps. There are various tools called clamps which do this, and typically they can be moved. If you put two clamps on something like a tube or pipe, and there is something in there that can move, you are indeed limiting its movement, from "pinch point" A to "pinch point" B.
If a parallel between the above and a mathematical or other process can be made, it might make sense.
If you have an existing value out of range, and have a process that brings it within range, not sure if that can be called "clamping" - the physical parallel is that you have something outside of a pipe and then attach a clamp - well, you can't capture what's already outside the pipe with the clamp.