Introductory Data Science

What is data

The word “data” has the following meaning, based on the Oxford dictionary.

Data refers to facts and statistics collected for reference or analysis.

I think the definition of data cannot be any better than this. Based on the definition, data has three aspects: (1) Data comes from facts and statistics, (2) Data is collected, and (3) Data is used for reference or analysis. In this course, our major focus is on the third aspect — the analysis part of the data.

The word “Data” is the plural form of the word “datum”. That is “datum” is singular, and the word “data” is plural. Sometimes, the word “data” is used as an uncountable noun. Therefore, it is common to use the word “data” in a singular form such as, “The data I collected is not sufficient.”

Given some data, a data scientist tries to retrieve interesting information that might help the data owner make decisions. This entire course is about retrieving interesting information from data using algorithmic techniques.

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