[scientific computation] An extra option
added to a routine without changing the calling sequence. For
example, instead of adding an explicit input variable to instruct a
routine to give extra diagnostic output, the programmer might just
add a test for some otherwise meaningless feature of the existing
inputs, such as a negative mass. The use of hidden flags can make
a program very hard to debug and understand, but is all too common
wherever programs are hacked on in a hurry.