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Data from IT perspectives

What is data?

From IT perspectives, data is a collection of numbers which are represented by bits or binary digits. They can have a value of either zero or one.

Everything including images, documents, software programs, and videos are data and they are represented by a series of ones and zeros in a computer. Even your operating system is data and it is stored in hard disk, later loaded into memory when turning on.   Data is saved, processed or manipulated by computers to produce new data or output.

History of data

Data is a latin word and it is a plural of word “datum”. Use of English word “data” dates back to 1640. The word expression “data processing” was first used in 1954.

Digital and analog data

Digital data is a collection of zeros and ones (1000101010) while analog data is represented by analog signals suppose voltage and current. Digital data has some discrete value while analog data is continuous in nature.

Examples of data

Following are some examples of the data.

Joe Smith, Brooklyn Street , NY, USA, Phone number 7893 342, Fax number 3278 32 32

Beautiful sky

Renowned musician

Type of data

Data could be about anything. Following are some of the type of data.

1. Geographical data

2. Financial data

3. Statistical data

4. Meteorological data

5. Scientific data

6. Cultural data

7. Transport data

8. Natural data

9. School data

10. Hospital data

Data Measurements

The bit is the smallest unit of data and it just represents a single value. A byte is a larger unit and it comprises of 8 bits. Following are some of the common data measurements.

 

Unit

Value

Bit

1 bit

Byte

8 bits

Kilobyte

1024 bytes

Megabyte

1024 kilobytes

Gigabyte

1024 megabytes

Terabyte

1024 gigabytes

Petabyte

1024 terabyte

Exabyte

1024 petabyte

Zettabyte

1024 exabyte

How data is stored on the computer?

Data is stored on the hard drives of a computer in the form of zero’s and ones. Data in memory or hard disk is measured by larger units suppose megabyte, gigabyte, terabyte etc. 

Characteristics of data

The data should qualify for the following characteristics to be meaningful.

 

Timeliness – Data should be readily available when it is required

Accuracy – Data should be accurate

Completeness – Data should be complete

Organization of data

Inside computer memory, data can be organized in different data structures which are listed below.

1. Arrays

2. Graphs

3. Link list

4. Trees

There are different algorithms which are used for various operations on the data including searching and sorting.

Redundant data

Redundant data is a complete or partial copy of actual data in the same or separate locations. As the data in any IT environment increases, the chances of redundancy also increases. It is a common issue and has the following disadvantages:

1. Wastes space

2. Decreases the search efficiency

3. Causes inconsistency

The term ‘redundant data’ can also be referred to as ‘duplicate date’. It is important to remove duplicate data to decrease storage overhead. Various tools are used for this purpose.

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