Computer Data and Information - Computer Fundamentals

What is Data and Information in computers?

Data is nothing but a collection of facts, concepts, or instructions given to the computer where it is stored in the memory in an organized manner. They have different storage capacities. Data that is given by the user should be suitable for communication, interpretation, or processing by human or electronic machine.

Data is represented with the help of characters such as alphabets (A-Z, a-z), digits (0-9) or special characters (+,-,/,*,<,>,= etc.)

What is Information?

Information is an organized or classified data, which has some meaningful information for the receiver. When you enter information in to the computer it is stored and defined as data where later on this information is processed and comes out as output data called information.

For the decision to be meaningful, the processed data must qualify for the following characteristics −

  • Timely − Information should be available as and when required.
  • Accuracy − Information gathered should be accurate.
  • Completeness − Information should be complete.

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Data Processing Cycle

Data processing is the re-structuring or formatting of data by people or machine to increase their efficiency and add values for a particular purpose. Data processing consists of the following basic steps - input, processing, and output. These three steps constitute the data processing cycle.

computer_data

  • Input − In this step, the input data is given by the user is prepared in some convenient form for processing. This will depend on the processing machine. For example, when electronic computers are used, the input data can be recorded on any one type of input medium, such as magnetic disks, tapes, and so on.
  • Processing − In this step, the input data which is entered is changed to produce data in a more meaningful form. For example, pay-checks can be calculated from the time cards, or a summary of sales for the month can be calculated from the sales orders.
  • Output − At this stage, the result of the processing step is collected. This output result referred as information which is given to the user as per the users wish. This particular form of the output data depends on the use of the data. For example, output data may be pay-checks for employees.

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