It can be called a distance since it is nonnegative, nil-reflexive, symmetric, and triangular:
0 ← d(u, v)
d(u, v) = 0 iff u = v
d(u, v) = d(v, u)
d(u, w) ← d(u, v) + d(v, w)
The Hamming distance is important in the theory of error-correcting codes and error-detecting codes: if, in a block code, the codewords are at a minimum Hamming distance d from one another, then
(a) if d is even, the code can detect d – 1 symbols in error and correct ½d – 1 symbols in error;
(b) if d is odd, the code can detect d – 1 symbols in error and correct ½(d – 1) symbols in error.
See also Hamming space, perfect codes, coding theory, coding bounds, Hamming bound.
"Hamming distance." A Dictionary of Computing. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 19, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/computing/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/hamming-distance
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