Aside: "constant variable"?

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Aside: "constant variable"?

Tony Papadimitriou
"constant variable(s)" is an oxymoron.  Maybe just "constants", or else "locked variables" if these can start as regular variables and change status afterwards?
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Re: Aside: "constant variable"?

Coda Highland
On Thu, Jun 13, 2019 at 9:54 AM Tony Papadimitriou <[hidden email]> wrote:
"constant variable(s)" is an oxymoron.  Maybe just "constants", or else "locked variables" if these can start as regular variables and change status afterwards?

The thing about oxymorons is that they're only APPARENTLY contradictory. They usually occur as the result of applying clarifying descriptions to a standardized term, which is exactly what happened here. If the meaning is clear, there's nothing wrong with them. And "constant variable" is a common, well-understood term in computer programming, so using anything BESIDES that would be MORE confusing than the oxymoronic usage.

/s/ Adam
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Re: Aside: "constant variable"?

Coda Highland


On Thu, Jun 13, 2019 at 10:24 AM Coda Highland <[hidden email]> wrote:
On Thu, Jun 13, 2019 at 9:54 AM Tony Papadimitriou <[hidden email]> wrote:
"constant variable(s)" is an oxymoron.  Maybe just "constants", or else "locked variables" if these can start as regular variables and change status afterwards?

The thing about oxymorons is that they're only APPARENTLY contradictory. They usually occur as the result of applying clarifying descriptions to a standardized term, which is exactly what happened here. If the meaning is clear, there's nothing wrong with them. And "constant variable" is a common, well-understood term in computer programming, so using anything BESIDES that would be MORE confusing than the oxymoronic usage.

/s/ Adam

Of note, it's also only an apparent contradiction in this case if you aren't looking deeply enough into it. "It's constant but it varies?" Well, yes. It is, in fact, a variable. It is a variable which does not vary after it is assigned, but its value COULD vary from run to run as a result of differing conditions at time of assignment.

"Constant variable" is distinguished from "constant value" which is usually a literal instead of a symbolic identifier.

/s/ Adam