DESCRIPTION OF A SET-THEORETIC DATA STRUCTURE
MICHIGAN UNIV ANN ARBOR
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A set-theoretic data structure STDS is virtually a floating or pointer-free structure allowing quicker access, less storage, and greater flexibility than fixed or rigid structures that rely heavily on internal pointers or hash-coding, such as associative or relational structures, list structures, ring structures, etc. An STDS relies on set-theoretic operations to do the work usually allocated to internal pointers. A question in an STDS will be a set-theoretic expression. Each set in an STDS is completely independent of every other set, allowing modification of any set without perturbation of the rest of the structure while fixed structures resist creation, destruction, or changes in data. An STDS is essentially a meta- structure, allowing a question to dictate the structure or data-flow. A question establishes which sets are to be accessed and which operations are to be performed within and between these sets. In an STDS there are as many structures as there are combinations of set-theoretic operations and the addition, deletion, or change of data has no effect on set-theoretic operations, hence no effect on the dictated structures. Thus in a floating structure like an STDS the question directs the structure, instead of being subservient to it.
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