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2022 | Book

Data, Information, and Time

The DIT Model

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About this book

This SpringerBrief presents the data- information-and-time (DIT) model that precisely clarifies the semantics behind the terms data, information and their relations to the passage of real time. According to the DIT model a data item is a symbol that appears as a pattern (e.g., visual, sound, gesture, or any bit pattern) in physical space. It is generated by a human or a machine in the current contextual situation and is linked to a concept in the human mind or a set of operations of a machine. An information item delivers the sense or the idea that a human mind extracts out of a given natural language proposition that contains meaningful data items. Since the given tangible, intangible and temporal context are part of the explanation of a data item, a change of context can have an effect on the meaning of data and the sense of a proposition.
The DIT model provides a framework to show how the flow of time can change the truth-value of a proposition. This book compares our notions of data, information, and time in differing contexts: in human communication, in the operation of a computer system and in a biological system. In the final Section a few simple examples demonstrate how the lessons learned from the DIT-model can help to improve the design of a computer system.

Table of Contents

Frontmatter
Chapter 1. Introduction
Abstract
The terms data and information refer to core concepts in the domain of information technology. They are central and widely used terms in any conversation about the evolving information society. Colloquially, these words are used in a variety of different situations without much concern for the precise meaning that is communicated by these terms. Some uses of these terms assume that they are synonyms, while other uses consider that these two terms have different meanings, but fail to identify the key differences between them. Even in the scientific community, the precise semantics that is carried by these terms is not agreed upon [3].
Hermann Kopetz
Chapter 2. Overview of the DIT Model
Abstract
The Data, Information and Time (DIT) Model provides a clarification of the differences in the meaning of the terms data and information and explains the communication among humans through the use of natural language propositions. It examines how a proposition can change its sense as time progresses.
Hermann Kopetz
Chapter 3. Fundamental Terms
Abstract
In this chapter we outline our world model and describe the meaning of important terms that are used throughout this work. The glossary at the end of this book summarizes the explanations of important terms that are used throughout this work.
Hermann Kopetz
Chapter 4. Context
Abstract
In human communication the meaning of a natural language word depends on the context and the time of the conversation. The Collins Dictionary defines context as follows: “The context of an idea or event is the general situation that relates to it, and which helps it to be understood.” The context consists not only of the spatial and temporal environment of the utterance per se but also of the preceding discourse that can have an effect on the precise meanings of the employed words.
Hermann Kopetz
Chapter 5. Language and Information
Abstract
The basic elements of a natural language text are the words. The words are combined to sentences that relate words to each other. In the DIT model a word is considered to have a meaning, but a basic sentence that is constructed out of meaningful words is the smallest unit that makes sense.
Hermann Kopetz
Chapter 6. Data in Communication
Abstract
The Merriam Webster dictionary defines communication as follows: A process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs or behavior or the function of pheromones in insect communication. Since information consists of one or more Itoms, the first part of this definition can be viewed as a process where Itoms are exchanged between humans. We cover the second part of this definition—the function of pheromones—in the section on Stigmergic Communication.
Hermann Kopetz
Chapter 7. Data in Archival Systems
Abstract
An archive is a repository that holds documents of permanent historical information (a vast plurality of Itoms) that are dated and stored on different kinds of media in order that this information can be accessed and analyzed at some future date. The documents can be kept in analogue or digital form. In a computer archive the data are stored in digital form on some protected digital storage media.
Hermann Kopetz
Chapter 8. Data in Real-Time Control Systems
Abstract
In a real-time control system (RT system), a computer system interacts periodically with an object in the physical environment (often called the controlled object) in order to control a production process or to achieve a desired state of the environment. These interactions must occur at precise physical instants determined by the dynamics of the controlled object.
Hermann Kopetz
Chapter 9. Data in Biological Systems
Abstract
In this short section, we investigate whether the notions of data, information, and time that are at the base of the DIT model can also be applied to biological systems, i.e., living systems.
Hermann Kopetz
Chapter 10. Generation and Explanation of Data
Abstract
In the DIT model we consider the signifier of a data item as a pattern that denotes a symbol in the physical world. The signified of the symbol depends on the given environment. If the data item is intended for a human, the signified is an already formed concept in the human mind. If the data item is used by a computer, the signified is a value housed in a token where the meaning of the value is determined by the set of operations that the name of the value—the variable name—is involved in. This set of operations has been designed by a human programmer who understands the meaning of the involved tokens.
Hermann Kopetz
Chapter 11. Consequences for System Design
Abstract
In the world of engineering, the practical usefulness of a model for building better systems is more relevant than its irrefutable correctness. In this final section we provide some short examples to show how the insights gained from the DIT model can help in the design of more useful computer systems.
Hermann Kopetz
Chapter 12. Conclusions
Abstract
The Data, Information, and Time (DIT) model makes a clear distinction between the terms data and information and illustrates how the meaning of a data item and the sense of a proposition can change over time.
Hermann Kopetz
Backmatter
Metadata
Title
Data, Information, and Time
Author
Univ.-Prof. Dr. Dr. Hermann Kopetz
Copyright Year
2022
Electronic ISBN
978-3-030-96329-3
Print ISBN
978-3-030-96328-6
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-96329-3

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