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Informatics includes the science of information, the practice of information processing, and the engineering of information systems. Informatics studies the structure, behavior, and interactions of natural and artificial systems that store, process and communicate information. It also develops its own conceptual and theoretical foundations. Since computers, individuals and organizations all process information, informatics has computational, cognitive and social aspects, including study of the social impact of information technologies.

Used as a compound, in conjunction with the name of a discipline, as in medical informatics, bioinformatics, etc., it denotes the specialization of informatics to the management and processing of data, information and knowledge in the named discipline, and the incorporation of informatic concepts and theories to enrich the other discipline; it has a similar relationship to library science.

Informatics is broader in scope than:information theory—the study of a particular mathematical concept of information; information science—a field primarily concerned with the collection, classification, manipulation, storage, retrieval and dissemination of information in human society; artificial intelligence—the study and engineering of intelligent behavior, learning, and adaptation, in machines; or computer science—the study of the storage, processing, and communication of information using engineered computing devices.


In 1957 the German computer scientist Karl Steinbuch published a paper called Informatik: Automatische Informationsverarbeitung (i.e. "Informatics: automatic information processing"). Informatics is commonly misunderstood to be the same as computer science. But Informatics is theoretically oriented contrary to computer science and therefore is more oriented towards mathematics than computer science.