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Answered 2006-07-25 15:08:22

A data structure is the internal representation of the data. It may be a list, a linked list, a stack, heap or just about anything else that can be immagined and represented internal to the machine. For example, the data structure may be a linked list of control blocks for a specific product that is progressing through an automated machining facility. The control block may include information regarding the product, the tolerances, date/time that the product entered the different machining centers and the inspectors who verified the product at different points along the way. The data structure (control block) may or may not be stored in a database during the manufacturing process. Some application engineers may determine that the data needs to remain in memory to address real-time issues and for speed concerns. On the other hand, the data may be handed off to a database application for archiving. A well defined database links the similar data elements together and provides lookup "keys" that allow subsequent users to view and manipulate the data.

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