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[′dad·ə, ′dād·ə, or ′däd·ə]
(computer science)
General term for numbers, letters, symbols, and analog quantities that serve as input for computer processing.
Any representations of characters or analog quantities to which meaning, if not information, may be assigned.
(science and technology)
Numerical or qualitative values derived from scientific experiments.


(data, data processing, jargon)
/day't*/ (Or "raw data") Numbers, characters, images, or other method of recording, in a form which can be assessed by a human or (especially) input into a computer, stored and processed there, or transmitted on some digital channel. Computers nearly always represent data in binary.

Data on its own has no meaning, only when interpreted by some kind of data processing system does it take on meaning and become information.

For example, the binary data 01110101 might represent the integer 117 or the ASCII lower case U character or the blue component of a pixel in some video. Which of these it represents is determined by the way it is processed (added, printed, displayed, etc.). Even these numbers, characters or pixels however are still not really information until their context is known, e.g. my bank balance is ?117, there are two Us in "vacuum", you have blue eyes.


(1) Technically, raw facts and figures, such as orders and payments, which are processed into information, such as balance due and quantity on hand. However, in common usage, the terms "data" and "information" are used synonymously. In addition, the term data is really the plural of "datum," which is one item of data. But datum is rarely used, and data is used as both singular and plural in practice.

The amount of data versus information kept in the computer is a tradeoff. Data can be processed into different forms of information, but it takes time to sort and sum transactions. Up-to-date information can provide instant answers.

A common misconception is that software is also data. Software is executed, or run, by the computer. Data are "processed." Thus, software causes the computer to process data.

(2) Any form of information whether on paper or in electronic form. Data may refer to any electronic file no matter what the format: database data, text, images, audio and video. Everything read and written by the computer can be considered data except for instructions in a program that are executed (software).

(3) May refer only to data stored in a database in contrast with text in a word processing document.
References in periodicals archive ?
Assuming that published prevalence data are correct, other studies have also found that prior probabilities estimated by physicians were inaccurate, to the extent that the authors suggested that the use of prior probabilities as a tool for clinical decision making might cause more harm than benefit (Cahan et al.
Prevalence Data and Statistical Discrimination in the Diagnosis of Coronary Heart Disease.
Strengthening veterinary practices and animal health through parasite awareness "The CTC Study provides veterinarians with a clear call-to-action, which is to provide their clients with local parasite prevalence data," said Cristiano von Simson, DVM, MBA, director, Veterinary Technical Services, Bayer HealthCare LLC Animal Health.
Absence of background prevalence data in humans: Little information is available on the prevalence of mutations and gene expression patterns across various population groups, lifestyles, and health conditions.
The 2000 estimate is based on known infection rates in 25 states with reliable prevalence data.
Therefore, mandatory testing among military recruits and personnel provides much of the prevalence data.
WASHINGTON -- A survey underway could provide the first prevalence data on body piercing in the United States, as well as an update on tattoo prevalence, Dr.
In addition to prevalence data, the survey will fill considerable holes in knowledge about the medical and social implications of body art, according to Dr.
In addition, prevalence data on HIV can be negligible even in urban areas.
Prevalence data for autism are poor, says Coleen Boyle, director of the Division of Birth Defects, Child Development, and Disability and Health at the CDC.
A telephone survey in 2000 included interviews with 163,808 self-identified adults (aged 18 years or older) with asthma from across the United States, a data set unprecedented in its scope and the first systematic collection of asthma prevalence data in all 50 states, R.
1 List of Tables Table 1: Clinical Subtypes of AF 8 Table 2: Risk Factors and Comorbidities for AF 10 Table 3: Diagnosed Prevalence (%) of AF in the 6MM*, as Reported in Epidemiological Studies 11 Table 4: Total Prevalence (%) of AF in the 7MM*, as Reported in Epidemiological Studies 12 Table 5: 8MM, Sources of Prevalence Data Used to Forecast the Diagnosed Prevalent Cases of AF 14 Table 6: 8MM, Sources of AF Subtype Data Used to Forecast the Diagnosed Prevalent Cases of AF by Subtypes 15 Table 7: 8MM, Diagnosed Prevalent Cases of AF, Ages?