- Computer data processing
Computer data processing is any process that a computer program does to enter data and summarise, analyse or otherwise convert data into usable information. The process may be automated and run on a computer. It involves recording, analysing, sorting, summarising, calculating, disseminating and storing data. Because data are most useful when well-presented and actually informative, data-processing systems are often referred to as information systems. Nevertheless, the terms are roughly synonymous, performing similar conversions; data-processing systems typically manipulate raw data into information, and likewise information systems typically take raw data as input to produce information as output.
Data Analysis is the domain from which the data are harvested is a science or an engineering field, data processing and information systems are considered terms that are too broad and the more specialized term data analysis is typically used. This is a focus on the highly-specialized and highly-accurate algorithmic derivations and statistical calculations that are less often observed in the typical general business environment. In these contexts data analysis packages like DAP, gretl or PSPP are often used. This divergence of culture is exhibited in the typical numerical representations used in data processing versus numerical; data processing's measurements are typically represented by integers or by fixed-point or binary-coded decimal representations of numbers whereas the majority of data analysis's measurements are often represented by floating-point representation of rational numbers.
Basically, data are nothing but facts (organized or unorganized) which can be converted into other forms in order to make it useful, clear and pratically used. This process of converting facts to information is Processing. Practically all naturally occurring processes can be viewed as examples of data processing systems where "observable" information in the form of pressure, light, etc. are converted by human observers into electrical signals in the nervous system as the senses we recognize as touch, sound, and vision. Even the interaction of non-living systems may be viewed in this way as rudimentary information processing systems. Conventional usage of the terms data processing and information systems restricts their use to refer to the algorithmic derivations, logical deductions, and statistical calculations that recur perennially in general business environments, rather than in the more expansive sense of all conversions of real-world measurements into real-world information in, say, an organic biological system or even a scientific or engineering system.
Elements of data processing
In order to be processed by a computer, data needs first be converted into a machine readable format. Once data are in digital format, various procedures can be applied on the data to get useful information. Data processing may involve various processes, including:
- Data summarization
- Data aggregation
- Data validation
- Data tabulation
- Statistical analysis
- Linda B., Bourque, Linda B., Bourgue, Virginia A., Clark, Processing Data: The Survey Example (Quantitative Applications in the Social Sciences), Sage Publications, Inc. (December 14, 2008), ISBN 08056781901
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