Abstract Data Type

Abstract data types are mathematical models of a set of data values or information that share similar behavior or qualities and that can be specified and identified independent of specific implementations.

Abstract data types, or ADTs, are typically used in algorithms. An abstract data type is defined in term of its data items or its associated operations rather than by its implementation.

According to the NIST definition for abstract data types, an abstract data structure or type “is defined indirectly, only by the operations that may be performed on it and by mathematical constraints on the effects (and possibly cost) of those operations.”

Forrest Stroud
Forrest Stroud
Forrest is a writer for Webopedia. Experienced, entrepreneurial, and well-rounded, he has 15+ years covering technology, business software, website design, programming, and more.

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