black box

Quick Reference

A unit of software or hardware that interacts with the rest of its system entirely through its interface. The details of how it implements this interface's functionality are completely opaque to the rest of the system. Provided this functionality is not altered in any way, these internal workings can be altered or even completely reconstructed without jeopardizing system stability. Black boxes are an important concept in any large software project and are essential to component-based development.

Subjects: Computing.

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