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What is Abstraction indeed?

Posted on 2000-04-27
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Last Modified: 2010-04-02
Hi,
I have bumped into this word ,Abstraction,hundreds time when I study computer software-oriented knowledge.
I'm confused ,so would you please tell me:

What does abstract/abstraction Mean indeed?

Thanks.
Regard.
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Question by:zystudio
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nietod earned 200 total points
ID: 2754701
An abstraction is when we treat something as if it is something other than what it trully is.  That's helpful, right?

For example, we store characters in a computer doing somthing line

char Chr = 'A';

But that is an abstraction.  The Chr variable does not store an 'A', it stores.  The computer doesn't store letters, only numbers.  so what it stored is the  number 65, not an 'A', but we treat it like and 'A' as an abstraction.

But you know what, a computer does not really store numbers either.  That is another level of abstraction.  We pretend it stores numbers.  But actually it stores patterns of voltage...

This sort of thing, with where abstraction occurs apon abstraction is very very common.

continues
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by:nietod
ID: 2754711
All programs use abstractions to various degrees.  But object oriented programs tend to rely very heavily on abstrctions.  They often use very complex abstractions that are central to their design.  The most obvious example is the use of objects that are supposed to mirror the real world in some way.  For example you might create a payroll accounting system that has employee objects for the employees to be paid.  Well these are not the actuall employees, these are objects in the computer.  Treating them as a employee is an abstraction.
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