Home : Technical Terms : Abstraction Definition

Abstraction

An abstraction is a general concept or idea, rather than something concrete or tangible. In computer science, abstraction has a similar definition. It is a simplified version of something technical, such as a function or an object in a program. The goal of "abstracting" data is to reduce complexity by removing unnecessary information.

At some level, we all think of computers in abstract terms. When we type a document in a word processor, we don't think of the CPU processing each letter we type and the data being saved to memory. When we view a webpage, we don't think of the binary data being transferred over the Internet and being processed and rendered by the web browser. We simply type our documents and browse the web. This is how we naturally abstract computing concepts.

Even highly technical people, such as software developers can benefit from abstraction. For instance, one of the key benefits of object-oriented programming is data abstraction. It transforms complex entities into simplified objects, which can be accessed and altered within a program. These objects, which are often called classes, may have multiple attributes and methods. By consolidating these items into a single object, it makes it easier for programmers to access and manage data within a program.

Updated: April 19, 2019

Cite this definition:

https://techterms.com/definition/abstraction

TechTerms - The Tech Terms Computer Dictionary

This page contains a technical definition of Abstraction. It explains in computing terminology what Abstraction means and is one of many technical terms in the TechTerms dictionary.

All definitions on the TechTerms website are written to be technically accurate but also easy to understand. If you find this Abstraction definition to be helpful, you can reference it using the citation links above. If you think a term should be updated or added to the TechTerms dictionary, please email TechTerms!