Heart of Clojure

September 18 & 19, Leuven, Belgium.

The Wonders of Abstraction


Fish are to water as programmers are to abstraction. We swim in it all day, barely aware of it. We say “abstraction” all the time, but have we thought about what it means?

I’ve spent 20 years asking how computers–that move electrons around in a complex circuit–do work useful to humans. Abstraction is the key. In this philosophical talk, we explore this wonderous process called abstraction. We’ll wade through the everyday uses of the term, paddle out to formal definitions, and dive into why some abstractions give us incredible leverage. Along the way, we’ll see how abstraction is at the heart of getting computers to do useful work. I hope you leave with a deeper appreciation of the wonders of programming.


  • Eric Normand

    Eric Normand has been programming functionally since 2001. He teaches, speaks, and writes. He consults with companies to help them build better software one function at a time. He lives with his family in Madison, Wisconsin. You can find his writing and other projects at ericnormand.me.

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