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How to manage data with extreme complexity? How to implementabstractions?

Hi Folks,

How do you manage data with extreme complexity? Are there general principles for managing data with extreme complexity?

Do you create layers of abstraction separated by well-defined interfaces? What’s an interface in XML? How do you create an abstraction layer in XML?


Modern computers are among the most advanced human-engineered structures, and they are possible only because of our ability to manage extreme complexity. The key to managing complexity in computer systems is their division into levels of abstraction separated by well-defined interfaces. Levels of abstraction allow implementation details at lower level of design to be ignored or simplified.

-- Virtual Machines by James E. Smith and Ravi Nair, page 1.

Both computer architects and programmers had to invent techniques to make themselves more productive, for otherwise design time would lengthen as dramatically as resources grew by Moore’s Law. A major productivity technique for hardware and software is to use abstractions to represent the design at different levels of representation; lower-level details are hidden to offer a simpler model at higher levels.

-- Computer Organization and Design by John Hennessy and David Patterson, page 11.

By relieving the brain of all unnecessary work, a good notation sets it free to concentrate on more advanced problems, and in effect increases the mental power of the race.

-- Introduction to Mathematics by Alfred North Whitehead, page 39.


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