Overview of STL
Let's begin with a bird's eye view of the content of STL.
The library covers four main topic areas:
- Containers: a container is a holder object that stores a collection of other objects (its elements). Containers come in different flavor, depending on the kind of relationship required between members.
- Iterators : An iterator is an object that, pointing to some element in a range of elements in a container, has the ability to iterate through the elements of that range using a set of operators (with at least the increment (++) and dereference (*) operators).
- Algorithms: this is a very useful collection of operators designed to manipulate container objects according to various algorithms, like sorting, serching, removing or inserting elements in a collection.
- Functors : A Function Object, or Functor (the two terms are synonymous) is simply any object that can be called as if it is a function. An ordinary function is a function object, and so is a function pointer; more generally, so is an object of a class that defines operator(). We'll see by examples what use these objects have in scientific computation.
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