The World as Data

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Everything in the world can be represented using data. Think about that for a minute. Does it make sense?

Picture a tree. That tree can be described by its width, height, age, number of leaves, and even its color or texture. What about a person? A person has a name, age, height, and many other attributes. Could we simply represent trees, humans, and other entities in our computer programs using their attributes?

That’s the next big step in learning how to write a computer program: dealing with data. Many of the programs we’ll write are simply built to help us manipulate data in some fashion. Think back to the Turing Machine example from the first chapter. All a Turing Machine does is manipulate data on a tape, and it is capable of running any possible computer program.

In this chapter, we’ll learn all about the different ways we can work with data in our programs.