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All iterators in MPL are classified into three iterator concepts, or categories, named according to the type of traversal provided. The categories are: Forward Iterator, Bidirectional Iterator, and Random Access Iterator. The concepts are hierarchical: Random Access Iterator is a refinement of Bidirectional Iterator, which, in its turn, is a refinement of Forward Iterator.

Because of the inherently immutable nature of the value access, MPL iterators escape the problems of the traversal-only categorization discussed at length in [n1550].