What is data structures ?

This question has been one of the commonly asked question in all campus interviews, the best part is it has n number of answers.In simple we call data structure as efficient way of representing(structuring) data in computer memory and using it effectively to handle our needs.

Eventhough every software engineer knows and feels what exactly the data structure is, its always been a little problem to represent it in word. So lets see how Google responds for the search query what is data structure ? and define data structure .

Wikis definition of data structures( it seems quite handy) :
In computer science, a data structure is a particular way of storing and organizing data in a computer so that it can be used efficiently .

Webopedia seems wide enough to be general, but not sharp enough :
The term data structure refers to a scheme for organizing related pieces of information.

One more elaborated definition from web.

Data structure is designed to organize data to suit a specific purpose so that it can be accessed and worked with in appropriate ways. In computer programming, a data structure may be selected or designed to store data for the purpose of working on it with various algorithms.

Some more common definitions are :

1) Data structure means how the data is organized in memory.There are diferent kind of data structures. Some are used to store the data of same type and some are used to store different types of data.

2) Data structure is a combination of two or more datatype elements .

3) Answers.com provide some detailed definition for data structures . " In constructing a solution to a problem, a data structure must be chosen that allows the data to be operated upon easily in the manner required by the algorithm." .

But all the above definition seems uncomplete !!! People with right definitions are welcome ....

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