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Definition: actor model

A programming model for distributed systems and parallel processing, wherein the "actor" is the primary element of computation similar to an "object" in object-oriented programming (OOP). Developed in the 1970s, an actor receives a message and generates output as a self-contained concurrent operation. This encapsulation is like OOP, but actors do not support inheritance, which is one reason they have not been widely used. See object-oriented programming.