What is Computers, Data and Information ?

Computers, Data and Information

A computer is an information processing machine. Computers process data to produce information.

The sets of instructions that humans give computers are called programs or software.

Software that carries out a particular type of task for a user is often called applications software.

There are many reasons for using computers:

Computers can work much faster than humans;
Computers never get tired or need a rest;
Computers can do jobs that it would be dangerous for a human to do;
Computers can store large amounts of information in a very small space;
Computers can find information very quickly;
Computers never lose or misplace information.

Computer data is information processed or stored by a computer. This information may be in the form of text documents, images, audio clips, software programs, or other types of data. Computer data may be processed by the computer's CPU and is stored in files and folders on the computer's hard disk.

At its most rudimentary level, computer data is a bunch of ones and zeros, known as binary data. Because all computer data is in binary format, it can be created, processed, saved, and stored digitally. This allows data to be transferred from one computer to another using a network connection or various media devices. It also does not deteriorate over time or lose quality after being used multiple times.

The three stages of computing are input, processing and output.

A computer works through these stages by ‘running’ a program. A program is a set of step-by-step instructions which tells the computer exactly what to do with input in order to produce the required output.


This stage of computing is concerned with getting the data needed by the program into the computer.
Input devices are used to do this.
The most commonly used input devices are the mouse and the keyboard.


The instructions about what to do with the input are contained in a program.
During the processing stage the computer follows these instructions using the data which has just been input.
What the computer produces at the end of this stage is called output.


This stage of computing is concerned with producing the processed data as information in a form that is useful to the user.
Output devices are used to do this.
The most commonly used output devices are the screen, which is also called a monitor or visual display unit (VDU) and the printer.

Data & Information

Data is any collection of numbers, characters or other symbols that has been coded into a format that can be input into a computer and processed.
Data on its own has no meaning, or context.
It is only after processing by a computer that data takes on a context and becomes information.

There are many types of data

All data ends up being stored as a series of numbers inside the computer.
Data can be input to the computer by the user in many different ways.
The main types of data that can be input into a computer and processed are numeric, text, dates, graphics and sound.
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