Abstract Data Type

What Does Abstract Data Type Mean?

In computer science, an abstract data type is a theoretical data type that is largely defined by the operations and work on it and the limitations that apply. Professionals describe an abstract data type as a “mathematical model” for groups of data types, or as a “value with associated operations” that is independent of a particular implementation.


Techopedia Explains Abstract Data Type

When talking about abstract data types, it is helpful to have a knowledge of more concrete data types that are defined more clearly. By contrast, abstract data types are supposed to be broader definitions. For example, an exploration of abstract data types in Java often includes the “List” data type, which can be open to various implementations. IT experts might also use the idea of a “real life” example where a more abstract identifier like “car” represents the abstract data type, and a narrower, more precise identifier like “Nissan Altima” represents a defined or concrete data type.


Related Terms

Latest Computer Science Terms

Related Reading

Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…