Polymorphism (computer science)

Using one interface or symbol with regards to multiple different types / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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In programming language theory and type theory, polymorphism is the provision of a single interface to entities of different types[1] or the use of a single symbol to represent multiple different types.[2] The concept is borrowed from a principle in biology where an organism or species can have many different forms or stages.[3]

The most commonly recognized major classes of polymorphism are:

  • Ad hoc polymorphism: defines a common interface for an arbitrary set of individually specified types.
  • Parametric polymorphism: not specifying concrete types and instead use abstract symbols that can substitute for any type.
  • Subtyping (also called subtype polymorphism or inclusion polymorphism): when a name denotes instances of many different classes related by some common superclass.[4]