Kids, Code, and Computer Science Magazine

State

Taber Andrew Bain on Flickr

State is an important concept in computer science as well as our everyday lives.

What state do you live in? Sometimes states where people live are called provinces. In computer science, however, state is not a place you live. It’s something very different. State is stored information in a computer system at one instant in time. A computer that stores state is called a stateful system.

Your brain maintains state: what’s your name? where do you live? This type of information is stored in your brain to be remembered when needed. But what happens when you don’t remember? Computers have to solve the same problem.

If you have a laptop computer and close the lid, your laptop stores data about any software applications you have open. When you open your computer later, the past state of your laptop is retrieved and recreated by starting up any software you had open.

 

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