Browse Definitions:
Definition

idempotence

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

Idempotence, in programming and mathematics, is a property of some operations such that no matter how many times you execute them, you achieve the same result.

In programming, idempotence can be a property of many different code elements, including functions, methods, requests and statements. Idempotence is a language-agnostic property: It means the same thing in any programming context.

Here’s a simple demonstration of idempotence in HTTP requests:

HTTP GET requests are a method of retrieving specified data from a source, such as getting a bank account balance. GET requests are idempotent: Accessing the same data should always be consistent. On the other hand, POST requests are designed to change the target, such as adding a sum to a bank account. As such, a POST request should change the result and that means it’s not idempotent.

Benjamin Peirce, an American mathematician of the 19th century who taught at Harvard for over 50 years, coined the word idempotent to refer to algebraic elements that don’t change when raised to a positive integer power. The literal meaning of the word is “of the same power,” from the Latin idem, meaning same and Old French potence, meaning power.

Corey Schafer explains idempotence:

This was last updated in May 2016

Continue Reading About idempotence

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

  • smart contract

    A smart contract, also known as a cryptocontract, is a computer program that directly controls the transfer of digital currencies...

  • risk map (risk heat map)

    A risk map, also known as a risk heat map, is a data visualization tool for communicating specific risks an organization faces. A...

  • internal audit (IA)

    An internal audit (IA) is an organizational initiative to monitor and analyze its own business operations in order to determine ...

SearchSecurity

  • evil maid attack

    An evil maid attack is a security exploit that targets a computing device that has been shut down and left unattended.  An evil ...

  • Common Body of Knowledge (CBK)

    In security, Common Body of Knowledge (CBK) is a comprehensive framework of all the relevant subjects a security professional ...

  • rootkit

    A rootkit is a program or, more often, a collection of software tools that gives a threat actor remote access to and control over...

SearchHealthIT

  • value-based healthcare

    Value-based healthcare, also known as value-based care, is a payment model that rewards healthcare providers for providing ...

  • health informatics

    Health informatics is the practice of acquiring, studying and managing health data and applying medical concepts in conjunction ...

  • clinical trial

    A clinical trial, also known as a clinical research study, is a protocol to evaluate the effects and efficacy of experimental ...

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • crisis communication

    Crisis communication is a method of corresponding with people and organizations during a disruptive event to provide them with ...

  • Zerto

    Zerto is a storage software vendor that specializes in enterprise-class business continuity and disaster recovery in virtual and ...

  • crisis management plan (CMP)

    A crisis management plan (CMP) is a document that outlines the processes an organization will use to respond to a critical ...

SearchStorage

  • cache memory

    Cache memory, also called CPU memory, is high-speed static random access memory (SRAM) that a computer microprocessor can access ...

  • RAID 10 (RAID 1+0)

    RAID 10, also known as RAID 1+0, is a RAID configuration that combines disk mirroring and disk striping to protect data.

  • Red Hat OpenStack Platform

    Red Hat OpenStack Platform is a commercially supported distribution of open source OpenStack software designed to build and ...

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • hybrid hard disk drive (HDD)

    A hybrid hard disk drive is an electromechanical spinning hard disk that contains some amount of NAND Flash memory.

Close