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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 ?
Assignment of iNTS Incidence Data to 3-Level Matrix of HIV and Malaria Prevalence
Evangelista (Secretariat of Public Health, state of Colima, Mexico) for providing the dengue incidence data.
Consequently, both probable and confirmed CL cases are reported to the DOE, and distinctions cannot be made in the national incidence data between L.
If these data issues can be dealt with at least partially, the research challenge in using human incidence data is to understand the second- or third-order connections between the soil fungus and reported cases of the disease.
This report indicates that the effect of GBS in Bangladesh is substantial and suggests that data obtained through the ongoing global AFP surveillance program can be used to obtain crude incidence data on GBS worldwide.
circumpolar regions) or where incidence data are erratically obtained, unreliable, or simply not collected.
Correlation analysis -- Based on cancer incidence data, age-adjusted rates were computed for 20 selected cancer sites and types (such as esophagus, stomach, colon, liver, pancreas, lung, leukemia, melanoma, prostate, breast, bladder, kidney, brain, lymphoma, etc.
When they ran the exposure score data and the cancer case incidence data through statistical analysis, they found little evidence of an increased risk of gliomas.
Cancer Statistics: 2002 Incidence and Mortality report, which includes incidence data for about 93% of the U.
He and his coinvestigators used data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results 9 (SEER 9) cancer registry to establish a prospective cohort for which complete treatment and acute myeloid leukemia incidence data were available.
The regulatory, veterinary, and public health authorities of the European Union mobilized considerable financial and human resources to control rabies and paid less attention to alveolar echinococcosis in the 1990s, although incidence data indicate that alveolar echinococcosis is increasing and became an emerging infectious disease in Europe.
A large number of observed cases occur from outbreaks and can be reasonably characterized by incidence data collected through outbreak investigations.