2 Technology Concepts

Topics Covered: Technology, Information Technology, Data Structures and Algorithms, Data Processing and Storage, Data Models, Operational & Analytical Data, Databases, Data Warehouses, Streaming and Batch Data, ETL/ELT

2.1 Science, Engineering and Technology

Technology plays an integral part in Data and AI space, it’s customary to have a decent understanding of tech space in general to make the most of data and AI capabilities.

Before understanding technology, its important to understand the difference between science, engineering, and technology.

The distinction between science, engineering, and technology is not very clear but we can understand the difference by these elaborations:

  1. Science is systematic knowledge of the physical (or material) world which we gain via observation and experimentation.

  2. Engineering is the goal-oriented process of designing and making tools and systems to exploit natural phenomena for practical human means.

  3. Technology is often a consequence of science and engineering, it is the sum of any techniques, skills, methods, and processes used in the production of goods or services or in the accomplishment of objectives.

2.2 Technology

The word ‘technology’ has emerged from the Greek word ‘techne’ which means ‘art, skill, the cunning of hand’.

The simplest form of technology is the development and usage of basic tools.

From the prehistoric invention of shaped stone tools to the invention of the internet in modern times, technology has evolved a lot.

On one hand, technology has helped us in developing advanced economies, on the other hand, its unwanted by-products have proven to be detrimental to our environment.

There are valid philosophical debates on the use of technology and whether it improves or worsens the human condition.

2.2 Information Technology

Information technology (IT) is a branch of technology that deals with electronic data and information.

Mostly when we talk about IT, we talk about data and technology used in business operations.

Business operations have two parts where IT helps:

  1. Optimizing and automating the operations: this is done by fully or partially automating business processes
  2. Storing, processing and analyzing the data: this is done by using appropriate mechanism to store and process business data

Data and AI techniques further helps businesses in analysing business data and optimizing operations futher where traditional IT doesn’t help or have limitations.

2.3 Data Structures and Algorithms

How technology enables business operation optimization and efficient data storage?

These complex tasks are broken down into simpler pieces, like logical units of data storage and computation.

At its lowest level, there are technology components like data structures and algorithms, that helps IT professionals to achieve above mentioned objectives.

A data structure is a systematic way of organizing data in a computer system so that it can be used effectively i.e. lists, arrays, linked lists, stack and queue.

Algorithm is a step-by-step procedure, which defines a set of instructions to be executed in a certain order to get the desired output.

In the context of data structures, algorithms help us in certain operations like search, sort, insert, update and delete.

Details of data structures and algorithms are not part of this book, if you want to explore it further, I will provide you references.

2.4 Data Processing and Storage

2.5 Data Models

2.6 Operational Analytical Data

2.7 Databases and Data Warehouses

2.8 Streaming and Batch Data