Talk:abstract

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this entry doesn't do a very good job of describing what the word means.

Computing usage[edit]

The computing usages of the transitive verb need some synonyms listed. --kop 04:02, 7 June 2006 (UTC)

References would be even more useful. Eclecticology 06:21, 7 June 2006 (UTC)
I'm not sure exactly how to do this. Here ya go. From: Hal Abelson's, Jerry Sussman's and Julie Sussman's Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs (MIT Press, 1984; ISBN 0-262-01077-1) [1] Chapter 2, paragraph 1.
We saw how to use primitive data (numbers) and primitive operations (arithmetic operations), how to combine procedures to form compound procedures through composition, conditionals, and the use of parameters, and how to abstract procedures by using define. We saw that a procedure can be regarded as a pattern for the local evolution of a process, and we classified, reasoned about, and performed simple algorithmic analyses of some common patterns for processes as embodied in procedures.
The above is for the parameterization, of which generalization is a component. Just how much should be quoted? (It's a lot easier to get quotes for abstraction than abstract.
The whole book is about abstraction, in some sense. This quote (section 1.3) would be good for abstraction:
The presence of such a common pattern is strong evidence that there is a useful abstraction waiting to be brought to the surface. Indeed, mathematicians long ago identified the abstraction of summation of a series and invented ``sigma notation, for example....
or maybe better (section 1.1.4):
Definitions that associate names with values provide a limited means of abstraction.
or section 5.1.2:
Such abstraction is valuable because it allows us to ignore the details of parts of a machine so that we can concentrate on other aspects of the design.
Of interest in the book, aside from the above section 1.1.4 quote that abstracts data values, are:
Procedural abstraction -- separating the use of an algorithm from it's implimentation
Data abstraction -- making no assumption about the data other than what is required for the task at hand
Metalinguistic abstraction -- designing languages to suit the task at hand
But really there's tons of other stuff, such as continuations which abstract the state of a computation.
It's late. Should I maybe get clues from the style manual? --kop 08:09, 7 June 2006 (UTC)