Computers are all around us: in cars, kitchen scales, digital cameras, etc. But how do they store the data they hold? This free course, Representing and manipulating data in computers, will help you to understand how the data in a computer represents something in the outside world. You will also explore how ASCII code and Unicode are used to control data.
Course learning outcomes
After studying this course, you should be able to:
understand what all the terms highlighted in bold in the text mean
understand how the following types of data are represented in a computer, and what the limitations of such representations are: positive and negative integers; fractions; analogue physical quantities such as weight; true/false quantities; still pictures; text; moving pictures; sound
understand at an introductory level what data compression is and why it is useful
understand at an introductory level how input and output subsystems support the conversion of various types of information to and from data types usable by a computer
describe what a computer program is and how it utilises the memory and the processor.
You can start this course right now without signing-up. Click on any of the course content sections below to start at any point in this course.
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Creative commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence.
However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These
materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions377 and our FAQs378.
Full copyright details can be found in the Acknowledgements section of each week.
For further information, take a look at our frequently asked questions which may give you the support you need.
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