# B This use of the word "data"

1. Jan 27, 2017

### dkotschessaa

Sometimes while poking around for stuff in topology or algebra I find the word "data" used in this context, i.e. in Hatcher: (https://www.math.cornell.edu/~hatcher/AT/AT.pdf)

Does it just mean "information" in a general sense or is there some precise algebraic meaning?

It's impossible to just look up, since the word has so many other meanings.

-Dave K

2. Jan 27, 2017

### Staff: Mentor

3. Jan 27, 2017

### dkotschessaa

This is what I meant about it being impossible to look up. If you search for "topology" and "data" you get stuff like that (which I have some familiarity with, but thank you). So unfortunately, this data about data is not the data about data that I was looking for, but data about data that I already had some data about.

I've seen the term pop up in algebra too. But nobody defines it. It just seems to means "here's some information" in which case, why say "data."

-Dave K

4. Jan 27, 2017

### Staff: Mentor

In the words paraphrased from Seinfeld (the soup episode):

5. Jan 27, 2017

### dkotschessaa

6. Jan 29, 2017

### FactChecker

I would worry more about the formal meaning of "information" than a formal meaning of "data". There is so much information theory that you wouldn't want to get tangled up with. "Data" is probably a better general term with fewer presumptions.

7. Jan 30, 2017

### dkotschessaa

Sure, but I still don't have a definition in this context. It just sort of shows up like a family member who I am supposed to know about but somehow don't!

It's not super important, of course. But I am just wondering why it's being used.

-Dave K

8. Jan 30, 2017

### FactChecker

You can think of it as an informal "information" as long as you don't read information theory into it.
Because it is better than "informal information without reading information theory into it". Is there a better alternative?

9. Jan 30, 2017

### dkotschessaa

"The following map is needed..."

Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted