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abstract out Options
Sorin F. Ghinescu
Posted: Monday, January 08, 2018 7:36:53 AM

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Ok, I wanted to post a pic, but I don't know why the pop-up doesn't work. Probably add-blockers, etc ...
But here it is the gist of it: It's a programming problem, pretty particular. And at a certain point, they decide to split the problem into 2 subproblems and generalize it. And they called that to abstract out!
The sense is pretty obvious, from something very specific to derive out the abstract part of it.
But when I looked up 'abstract out' to find more examples and get a better feeling of when I should use it, no abstract out to be found. Some 'abstract away', which seems similar, I was able to find in some cases.

How would you translate ( Abstract out) aside from the meaning in the context, which is a bit peculiar, splitting into two problems!?
How would you use 'abstract out'? When do you feel you would need to say that and when just the abstract verb?

Thank you
Sarrriesfan
Posted: Monday, January 08, 2018 7:50:28 AM

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Could you post the image here yourself?
Not all of us use the Dropbox app that it is hosted on.

I lack the imagination for a witty signature.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Monday, January 08, 2018 8:22:07 AM

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I can't see your image - my computer shows "privacy error", which means that your image host is not a secure site.

However, "abstract" means:
"Abs-" meaning "away", "from", "off"
"trac" meaning "to pull" (like a tractor)

To abstract out would then mean to pull something out of . . . (out of something).
Really - to be 'technical', the word "out" is unnecessary. It really repeats the idea of 'abs-'.

It is used in several ways.

It's meaning depends on the context.

When you 'abstract out' an essay or article, you 'pull out' the important concepts and ideas and list those - without all the blurb, examples, opinions etc. Just the main points without specifics.
Then you can write the essay using those points as the subjects for the paragraphs or sections.

When you 'abstract out' data from a mass of data, you 'pull out' the overall main points.
- From the temperature readings for ten places within this building, every two hours for the last month (four hundred separate figures), I can abstract the major datum "The temperature never drops below twelve degrees, so we don't need to worry about the pipes freezing."

The idea of 'splitting two problems' sounds peculiar, as you say.
In my mind, 'abstracting' would be the action of 'pulling out' the central, general problem from lots of specific problems.
Looking back over the past three weeks, ABC Company has started failing: many shareholders have sold their shares; people have stopped buying their products; there have been several disputes between managers and staff; etc, etc, etc. It seems like EVERYTHING is going wrong.
After an investigation, one can 'abstract out' the core problem - one competitor is spreading lies to the staff, management, shareholders and public - a Black Propaganda campaign.


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
Sorin F. Ghinescu
Posted: Monday, January 08, 2018 8:31:42 AM

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Location: Bucharest, Bucuresti, Romania
Ok, thank you. So I could use abstract leaving out the 'out' and it would mean the same thing. I guess it's just an emphasis. The online course is from Duke Univ, programming dept. I think it's specific in some parts of US to use additional particle for emphasis?
But the meaning is clear, which is what I needed.
Thanks
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Monday, January 08, 2018 9:13:13 AM

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I am more familiar with 'abstract' as a noun or as an adjective.

The American Heritage definition seems a little more detailed than the others in TFD.

abstract tr.v.
1.a. To take away; remove: abstract the most important data from a set of records.
1.b. To remove without permission; steal: a painting that was abstracted from the museum.
2. To consider (an idea, for example) as separate from particular examples or objects: abstract a principle of arrangement from a series of items.
3. (ăb′străkt′) To write a summary of; summarize: abstract a long article in a paragraph.
4. To create artistic abstractions of (something else, such as a concrete object or another style): "The Bauhaus Functionalists were ... busy unornamenting and abstracting modern architecture, painting and design" (John Barth).


None of the dictionaries mention the use of "abstract out", really, but it does not sound unnatural to me. "Out" is used with several verbs like this.

I just looked through examples of 'abstract out' - the phrase was first really used in about 1940.
Most (almost all) of the examples are from the fields of psychology, cybernetics, communication theory, Artificial Intelligence, and so on - the sciences involving 'theory of thought'.

This is a graph of the usage of the two - 'abstract out'and 'abstract'.

As a general approximation, the phrase 'abstract out' occurs once in every 4000 uses of 'abstract', so it's not common.

*******************
I am sure I have heard of 'abstracting out' an essay - meaning writing an abstract (a brief outline as a plan before starting the main writing).

I don't think I have ever heard it used otherwise.



Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
Харбин Хэйлунцзян 1
Posted: Monday, January 08, 2018 9:39:31 AM

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Drag0nspeaker wrote:
None of the dictionaries mention the use of "abstract out", really, but it does not sound unnatural to me.

It is often used in books on programming:

C++ for dinosaurs: Guide for readable, maintainable, reusable and faster code, by Nick Economidis

Quote:
STL algorithms abstract out the most common patterns of programming, like

• iteration
• copying
• searching
• sorting

Without using algorithms, one would resort to repeatedly writing boilerplate code like this:



აბა ყვავებს ვინ დაიჭერს, კარგო? გალიაში ბულბულები ზიან.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Monday, January 08, 2018 10:39:27 AM

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Thanks a lot Харбин.

I assume the meaning is similar - taking all the different programs for (for example) searching - then finding the generalised common form. Pulling the simple basics from lots of detail.

(Sort of like .dll files, I guess - my knowledge of that sort of thing is rudimentary, to say the least!)

Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
Харбин Хэйлунцзян 1
Posted: Monday, January 08, 2018 11:28:23 AM

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Drag0nspeaker wrote:
(Sort of like .dll files, I guess - my knowledge of that sort of thing is rudimentary, to say the least!)

I guess it can be said of any sort of encapsulating details of some functionality. If it were the component object model or .NET it would be in .dll files. But in that particular quote it's C++ template classes which are distributed in text form.


აბა ყვავებს ვინ დაიჭერს, კარგო? გალიაში ბულბულები ზიან.
Sorin F. Ghinescu
Posted: Monday, January 08, 2018 11:48:11 AM

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OK, thank you, thank you. The answers paint a pretty clear picture now.
"Abstract-ing out" is not very common in abstracting usages, although it is obvious it's about extracting a concept from a mass of instances that exhibit (contain) it. As such it is probably very adapted to be used when talking object-oriented programming, or another programming, and thus more frequent in that lingo.

To me, as a feeling, it makes sense to use the out when I am talking about the extracted concept and without it when I'm talking mainly about the process.
Would you agree with that?

Thanks
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Monday, January 08, 2018 12:07:15 PM

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Joined: 9/12/2011
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Hi!

I'm afraid you have gone a long way beyond my knowledge.

I barely know what a .dll file is.
I have vaguely heard that there is a computer language called C++.
"Object-oriented programming" went right over my head.

Maybe Харбин can answer that last question . . .

Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
Харбин Хэйлунцзян 1
Posted: Monday, January 08, 2018 12:13:49 PM

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Drag0nspeaker wrote:
Maybe Харбин can answer that last question . . .

In Russian we never abstract out - we abstract ourselves from. :)


აბა ყვავებს ვინ დაიჭერს, კარგო? გალიაში ბულბულები ზიან.
Sorin F. Ghinescu
Posted: Monday, January 08, 2018 1:17:25 PM

Rank: Newbie

Joined: 3/9/2016
Posts: 42
Neurons: 26,969
Location: Bucharest, Bucuresti, Romania
Харбин Хэйлунцзян 1 wrote:
Drag0nspeaker wrote:
Maybe Харбин can answer that last question . . .

In Russian we never abstract out - we abstract ourselves from. :)


LOL!
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