In computer science, a pointer is a programming language object that stores the memory address of another value located in computer memory. A pointer references a location in memory, and obtaining the value stored at that location is known as dereferencing the pointer.
In computer science, a reference is a value that enables a program to indirectly access a particular datum, such as a variable’s value or a record, in the computer’s memory or in some other storage device. The reference is said to refer to the datum, and accessing the datum is called dereferencing the reference.
In the C++ programming language, a reference is a simple reference datatype that is less powerful but safer than the pointer type inherited from C. The name C++ reference may cause confusion, as in computer science a reference is a general concept datatype, with pointers and C++ references being specific reference datatype implementations. The definition of a reference in C++ is such that it does not need to exist. It can be implemented as a new name for an existing object (similar to rename keyword in Ada).