all bits considered data to information to knowledge

11May/110

Data Math

The motto of this site is: "Data to Information to Knowledge". I'd like to think that it was I who came up with this though I did not dig around to prove it ūüôā

Regardless of the origin, it does capture an important relationship:

DATA + CONTEXT = INFORMATION

INFORMATION + ANALYSIS = KNOWLEDGE

How does context transforms data into information? Consider the following example.

Think of today's date in history  - May 11, 2011.

Written as 5112011 it is just a number.  Perhaps, annual compensation of a company's CEO? Number of atoms in 848869.25212257286350480987421015 E-17 of molar units?  If we interpret it as, say, a date then it might be the anniversary of the "day in 1934, (when) a massive storm sends millions of tons of topsoil flying from across the parched Great Plains region of the United States as far east as New York, Boston and Atlanta.", according to the History.com

The context gives the data - a number, in my case - its meaning, and  transforms it into Information.

The analysis of the information takes it a step further - to the Knowledge. If I am dealing with the CEO's compensation t I could use it in charting out my investment strategy: is it time to go long on the company? to short the stock?

If I am a chemist, I might think of working with more manageable volumes of a particular compound; and if I am a farmer I might ponder the consequences of sustainable agriculture. This is knowledge, a human - possibly, uniquely human - trait.

While carrying vaguely theoretical overtones, these formulas have very practical implications to data architecture and systems engineering providing foundation for designing and constructing Enterprise Data Models, Enterprise Dashboards and ETL architectures.

And, the last but not least, keep this quote - by Albert Einstein - in mind:

Imagination is more important than knowledge

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