Some of the different types of data.
Adrien Auzout's "A TABLE of the Apertures of Object-Glasses" from a 1665 article in Philosophical Transactions

Data are individual facts, statistics, or items of information, often numeric.

- Data

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Partial map of the Internet, with nodes representing IP addresses
Galactic (including dark) matter distribution in a cubic section of the Universe
Information embedded in an abstract mathematical object with symmetry breaking nucleus
Visual representation of a strange attractor, with converted data of its fractal structure

Information is processed, organized and structured data.

Variable and attribute (research)

Attribute is a quality of an object .

Chronology of the universe as deduced by the prevailing Big Bang theory, a result from science and obtained knowledge

In data processing data are often represented by a combination of items (objects organized in rows), and multiple variables (organized in columns).


In the 21st century, metadata typically refers to digital forms, but traditional card catalogs contain metadata, with cards holding information about books in a library (author, title, subject, etc.).
Metadata can come in different layers: This physical herbarium record of Cenchrus ciliaris consists of the specimens as well as metadata about them, while the barcode points to a digital record with metadata about the physical record.

Metadata is "data that provides information about other data", but not the content of the data, such as the text of a message or the image itself.

Data set

Some of the different types of data.

A data set (or dataset) is a collection of data.

Character (computing)

Unit of information that roughly corresponds to a grapheme, grapheme-like unit, or symbol, such as in an alphabet or syllabary in the written form of a natural language.

A human computer, with microscope and calculator, 1952

With the advent and widespread acceptance of Unicode and bit-agnostic coded character sets, a character is increasingly being seen as a unit of information, independent of any particular visual manifestation.

Raw data

The two columns to the right of the left-most column in this computerized table are raw data.

Raw data, also known as primary data, are data (e.g., numbers, instrument readings, figures, etc.) collected from a source.

Data reporting

Example of data collection in the biological sciences: Adélie penguins are identified and weighed each time they cross the automated weighbridge on their way to or from the sea.

Data reporting is the process of collecting and submitting data which gives rise to accurate analyses of the facts on the ground; inaccurate data reporting can lead to vastly uninformed decision-making based on erroneous evidence.


Digital electronic machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically.

A human computer, with microscope and calculator, 1952
The Ishango bone, a bone tool dating back to prehistoric Africa.
The Chinese suanpan (算盘). The number represented on this abacus is 6,302,715,408.
The Antikythera mechanism, dating back to ancient Greece circa 150–100 BC, is an early analog computing device.
A slide rule.
A portion of Babbage's Difference engine.
Sir William Thomson's third tide-predicting machine design, 1879–81
Replica of Konrad Zuse's Z3, the first fully automatic, digital (electromechanical) computer.
Colossus, the first electronic digital programmable computing device, was used to break German ciphers during World War II. It is seen here in use at Bletchley Park in 1943.
ENIAC was the first electronic, Turing-complete device, and performed ballistics trajectory calculations for the United States Army.
A section of the Manchester Baby, the first electronic stored-program computer
Bipolar junction transistor (BJT)
MOSFET (MOS transistor), showing gate (G), body (B), source (S) and drain (D) terminals. The gate is separated from the body by an insulating layer (pink).
Diagram showing how a particular MIPS architecture instruction would be decoded by the control system
Magnetic-core memory (using magnetic cores) was the computer memory of choice in the 1960s, until it was replaced by semiconductor memory (using MOS memory cells).
Hard disk drives are common storage devices used with computers.
Cray designed many supercomputers that used multiprocessing heavily.
Replica of the Manchester Baby, the world's first electronic stored-program computer, at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, England
A 1970s punched card containing one line from a Fortran program. The card reads: "Z(1) = Y + W(1)" and is labeled "PROJ039" for identification purposes.
The actual first computer bug, a moth found trapped on a relay of the Harvard Mark II computer
Visualization of a portion of the routes on the Internet

The processing element carries out arithmetic and logical operations, and a sequencing and control unit can change the order of operations in response to stored information.


The normal distribution, a very common probability density, useful because of the central limit theorem.
Scatter plots are used in descriptive statistics to show the observed relationships between different variables, here using the Iris flower data set.
Gerolamo Cardano, a pioneer on the mathematics of probability.
Karl Pearson, a founder of mathematical statistics.
A least squares fit: in red the points to be fitted, in blue the fitted line.
Confidence intervals: the red line is true value for the mean in this example, the blue lines are random confidence intervals for 100 realizations.
In this graph the black line is probability distribution for the test statistic, the critical region is the set of values to the right of the observed data point (observed value of the test statistic) and the p-value is represented by the green area.
The confounding variable problem: X and Y may be correlated, not because there is causal relationship between them, but because both depend on a third variable Z. Z is called a confounding factor.
gretl, an example of an open source statistical package

Statistics is the discipline that concerns the collection, organization, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of data.

Data and information visualization

Data visualization is one of the steps in analyzing data and presenting it to users.
Partial map of the Internet early 2005 represented as a graph, each line represents two IP addresses, and some delay between those two nodes.
Charles Joseph Minard's 1869 diagram of Napoleonic France's invasion of Russia, an early example of an information graphic
A time series illustrated with a line chart demonstrating trends in U.S. federal spending and revenue over time
A scatterplot illustrating negative correlation between two variables (inflation and unemployment) measured at points in time
Selected milestones and inventions
Product Space Localization, intended to show the Economic Complexity of a given economy
Tree Map of Benin Exports (2009) by product category. The Product Exports Treemaps are one of the most recent applications of these kind of visualizations, developed by the Harvard-MIT Observatory of Economic Complexity
Planetary movements
Playfair TimeSeries
A data visualization from social media

Data and information visualization (data viz or info viz) is an interdisciplinary field that deals with the graphic representation of data and information.