Abstraction and Sushi

Abstraction is part of what makes us human. We are able to reason about things by forming abstractions. I enjoy eating sushi, but what is sushi except as a conceptual category of raw fish with rice?  I feel a need to understand sushi, the concept, by eating different kinds of sushi or by reading about sushi in an article, or by looking at many pictures. By doing so, my understanding of the sushi abstraction is made clearer. So, abstraction is not all in the mind; I need to physically experience many examples of sushi to strengthen the mental concept....the abstraction. We can approach abstraction in mathematics and computing in the same way. By seeing many examples of "plus", I come to understand what "plus" means. The above video was a short lecture I gave on the topic of abstraction to students and parents visiting the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) during Engineering Week. If abstraction is made strong through experience, new possibilities emerge. A "plus" is made real around us, while also giving us increased understanding of this concept.