AskDefine | Define discriminator

Dictionary Definition

discriminator n : a person who differentiates [syn: differentiator]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. A person who discriminates or differentiates
  2. Any of several electronic devices that convert some property of a signal into an amplitude whose value is proportional to the difference between the value of the input signal and that of a standard

Extensive Definition

Discriminator is a typed tag field present in OMG IDL discriminated union type and value definitions that determines which union member is selected in the current union instance. Unlike in some conventional programming languages offering support for unions, discriminator in IDL is not identical to selected field name. Here is an example of IDL union type definition:
union Register switch (char) ;
Effective value of the Register type may contain AX as selected field, but discriminator value may be either 'a' or 'b' and it is stored in memory separately. Therefore, IDL logically separates information about currently selected field name and union effective value from information about current discriminator value. In the example above, discriminator value may be anything of the following: 'a', 'b', 'c', as well as all other characters belonging to the IDL char type, since the default branch specified in the example Register type allows use of the remaining characters as well.


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