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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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


(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.
This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (


(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.
Copyright © 1981-2019 by The Computer Language Company Inc. All Rights reserved. THIS DEFINITION IS FOR PERSONAL USE ONLY. All other reproduction is strictly prohibited without permission from the publisher.
References in periodicals archive ?
where the objective function is defined as the squared sum of errors between the measured discrete data points and the closest linear model chosen in the estimated linear model set.
This chapter introduces the basic ideas and principles which lead to the methods of spectral analysis for discrete data. Thereby, the focus lays on measurements and time series of physical processes.
We obtained only a few discrete data points of finite numbers from the wind tunnel test.
In an attempt to simplify this process, and to create a stronger connection to actual clinical data, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) (6) is moving toward direct extraction of discrete data that have been entered by health care providers themselves.
This system would allow for more efficient, more accurate, and safer methods of providing data for optimizing patient care, with all of the discrete data transmitted electronically and linked to the original tumor report.
This limitation is reported elsewhere, but in the next 5 years, it will become less relevant as waveform data becomes more common than discrete data and researchers have a chance to evaluate waveform data with information from the field.
"Likewise, we shouldn't ask clinicians to enter discrete data. We should be able to capture that from their narrative.
* The ability to work with continuous (on-line) and discrete data together,
Clinical decision support tools were implemented with best-practice advisories on key performance areas, core measures and other quality improvement projects, generating discrete data for reporting.
The solution's disease management templates can enable ophthalmology practices to capture discrete data at the point of care, which will be crucial to meet clinical reporting guidelines for pay-for-performance programs.
Without additional analysis, it is not clear, therefore, whether the discrete data in this report will prove useful or interesting.
QualityAnalytics replaces manual review hours with discrete data mined from transcribed reports.

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