What is information? Information processing in computers

This post is lesson 5 of 42 in the subject Computer Hardware

We all know that the unit of information in computers is bit. So what is information and why should it be represented as bit? This article will answer the above question.

1. What is information?

The term “information” describes everything that brings understanding and awareness to people. For example: a letter, a number, a person’s name and age, a mathematical theorem, etc.

What is information?

Information can be transmitted through different physical environments such as light, sound waves, electromagnetic waves, etc. The physical form of information is called “signal”.

2. Basic form of information

There are two basic forms of information:

Numberic form: integer, real number, etc.

Non-numeric form:

  • Text form: information from books, newspapers, etc.
  • Image form: pictures, photos or videos, etc.
  • Sound form: piano sound, school drums, etc.

3. What is data?

Data is a form of representation of information for storage and processing purposes. Information will be converted into data through the process of encoding information. Humans often use sets of symbols (digits, letters) to encode information.

Information about the number of people infected with Covid in USA is represented by the data on the chart

4. Information processing in computers

Information is transformed into data for storage in a computer. Computers process stored data to output information to humans, which is then transformed into data. Such a loop repeats itself.

Information processing in computers

5. How to store information to the computer?

To computer process information, the information needs to be encoded into a sequence of bits. Bit is represented by 2 numbers: 0 and 1. Bit is a unit of information measurement in computers. Example: 01100001 (represents ‘A’ in ASCII code).

Processing information in computer

6. Why is information in computers represented as bit?

Because the structure of the computer uses electronic circuits that “only” have 2 states: on (bit 1 – turn on) and off (bit 0 – turn off). With such a structure, the computer “can only understand” these two states. Computers cannot understand the letters “a,b,c,..” or the numbers “1,2,3…” like humans.

Therefore, any type of data (numbers, text, images, sounds, etc.) in a computer must be represented by numbers 0 and 1.

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Posted by Vinh Le

Composer at ITLearningCorner.

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