Data Structure (information structure)
aspect of data type expressing the nature of values that are composite, i.e.
not atoms. The nonatomic values have constituent parts (which need not
themselves be atoms), and the data structure expresses how constituents may be
combined to form a compound value or selected from a compound value. Thus "date"
regarded as a data structure is a set containing a member for every possible
day, combined with operations to construct a date from its constituents - year,
month, and day-and to select a desired constituent.
An implementation of a data
structure involves both choosing a storage structure and providing a set of
procedures/functions that implement the appropriate operations using the chosen
storage structure. Formally, a data structure is defined as a distinguished
domain in an abstract data type that specifies the structure. Computer solution
of a real-world problem involves designing some ideal data structure, and then
mapping this onto available data structures (e.g. arrays, records, lists, queues, and trees) for the implementation.
Note that terms for data structures are used to denote both the structure and
data having that structure.
See also dynamic data structure.