Computer Data

You have already seen that, to a computer, data is any piece of information or fact that, taken by itself, may not make sense to a person. For example, you might think of the letters of the alphabet as data. Taken individually, they do not mean a lot. But when grouped into words and sentences, they make sense; that is, they become information (see Fig. 1). Similarly, basic geometric shapes may not have much meaning by themselves, but when they are grouped into a blueprint or a chart, they become useful information.
Fig. 1:
In particular, the working of any computer system mainly includes the following steps: Accept data by users through input devices, such as mouse, keyboard, scanner, etc. Accepted data is transferred to temporary memory and then sent for processing through a microprocessor (or CPU) as per given instructions.
Instructions tells the computer how to perform tasks. Like data, these instructions exist as strings of numbers so the computer can use them.
But the resemblance ends there. You can think of the difference between data and programs this way:
data is for people to use, but programs are for computers to use.
Within the computer, data is organized into files.
A file is simply a set of data that has been given a name. A file that the user can open and use is often called a document.
Although many people think of documents simply as text, a computer document can include many kinds of data.
For example, a computer document can be a text file (such as a letter), a group of numbers (such as a budget), a video clip (which includes images and sounds), or any combination of these items. Programs are organized into files as well; these files contain the instructions and data that a program needs in order to run and perform tasks.

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