5 Computers as tools for working with data
5.1 Genetic databases and disease
Section 2 looked at data and information from two different perspectives: that of the individual and that of commercial organisation. The type of data you have will dictate both why you want to process it using a computer and, to a large extent, how that is done.
This section contains two short case studies whose unifying theme is that the computer and its programs are tools for working with data. The two studies provide an interesting contrast between:
simple data in large and complex structures (which require large and complex programs to handle them), and
complex data which a complex program helps a non-expert to handle in some interesting, creative, flexible ways.
This subsection uses a case study to show how simple data (the four bases in DNA) can be combined in different ways to create a huge and complex collection of information.