In some discussions about abstraction, I drew a picture to illustrate my abstract view for computing (at here), it appeared only two domains: the app domain and IT domain. Then, Andreas Leue pointed out that (at here), for a completed picture: “there’s a third abstraction/world view, located in the people’s minds who are doing the business and who are using the software…” and I said “It IS my complete picture for models and modeling: all the entities and its models are appeared in three spaces, I call them as Physical Space, Conceptual (or conscious, mind, I’m not sure which one is the better) Space, and Computing Space.”
The perspective in the discussions of abstraction and my three space view are a bit different but closely related. See the figure below, it come from my subject “General Thing Modeling” where I tried to build a framework of models and modeling for applications, and I use it as basic world view for computer applications*.
Each entity in one of the three spaces is with certain physical phenomenon — appears as a physical object individually or some physical trace can be measured (accessed) — but the specific operation/process will be only done by the special way of the space. For example, a statement writing on a paper or a computer file in text, the “meanings” will be read/understood by human so it is belonged to conceptual space; a record of a customer in a database will be accessed by the computer (program) so it is belonged to computing space, especially, it will represented the customer in physical space (which known as a concept in conceptual space) that is, a model of the customer. See the picture. In general, an entity in the physical space may be known as a concrete concept in the conceptual space, and may has a data entity’1 in the computing space; an abstract concept in the conceptual space has no entity in the physical space but has the entity’ 2 in the computing space. Yet, there are many cases on it, and the cases are quite complicated then my primary imagination, while attempt to depict and clarify all of relationships on this view. In deed, I think this is the actual background of the analysis for models and modeling to applications.
This view of three spaces seems simple and natural but in my experience, it is often unwittingly confused, especially with the correspondence among different models (and its objects), in the practice of modeling and the uses of models.
* It is different to Karl Popper’s three worlds but, the physical space is basically equal to Popper’s World 1, the conceptual space is closed to the World 2, and the computing space do not correspond to any of Popper’s three worlds.