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What Is the Difference Between Data and Information? Why Is Understanding This Difference Important in the Design of Computer Systems?

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What is the difference between data and information? Why is understanding this difference important in the design of computer systems?

A lot of times people often misconstrue the words data and information as meaning the same thing. However that is not the case at all. Data and information are actually two very different things that are very important to the way you use a computer in your daily life. Data is a representation of a fact, figure, or idea. It can be a number, word, picture, or sound. Information is data that has been organized or presented in a meaningful fashion. Computers are an excellent at processing data into information so that it may be presented in a picture, word document, or sound recording. Information may also be stored as digital data in case you ever need to recall or use it again.

Understanding the difference between data and information is very important in today's computing world. Data is what you input into a computer to form information. An example of data would be the letter K. When you input the letter K into a word processing document or computer you see the letter K, however computer use the binary language to process data. Binary language is data represented in a string on numbers using only 0's and 1's. In binary language the letter K becomes 01001011. Since this is made up of eight binary digits it is one byte.

In today's world the rate that data is inputted into computer systems is growing in large numbers every day. Because of this computer systems will eventually become outdated and must go back to the drawing board to find a way to become to stay ahead of the game. If one binary digit is a bit, eight bits is a byte, 1,024 bytes is a kilobyte, and 1,048,576 is a megabyte; if computers can process gigabytes and terabytes of data into information now, then they will have to be designed more efficiently and effectively to be able to process petabytes, exabytes, and eventually zettabytes. That is the way that the future is taking us and if our computers can't process that vast amount of data into information that helps us in our daily lives, then computers would be limited and mostly useless.

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