One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Electronics. An instrument for ascertaining the ratio of the change in collector current to the corresponding change in emitter current in a transistor in a common-base configuration (the common-base current gain, symbol α). Now disused.
2Chiefly Computing. A person who performs alpha tests.
1950s. From alpha + tester; in sense 1 with allusion to α as a symbol for current gain in a transistor.
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