Which word should I use in the following context? Is the required before data?

Any algorithm first reads data, processes (the) data and finally [outputs|puts out] the processed data.

  • Unless the algorithm is for a porn site, I would avoid saying it "puts out"
    – JohnFx
    Sep 10, 2010 at 14:26
  • "Puts out" would be the awful German way of doing things.
    – RegDwigнt
    Sep 10, 2010 at 16:09
  • Can the verb outputt be used in golf? If so, be careful not to write outputted for the past tense of the verb output in this question.
    – GEdgar
    Sep 20, 2011 at 14:43

2 Answers 2


Any algorithm first reads the data, processes the data and finally outputs the processed data.

  • yes: "puts out" is for use when referring to an action such as "he puts out the garbage" (yes, I know - 'takes' would make slightly more sense in that sentence). Output is the result of an action, not the action itself.
    – warren
    Sep 10, 2010 at 15:12
  • 1
    @warren: Flanders & Swann illustrated various uses of put out succinctly: And he said as he hastened to put out the cat, The wine, his cigar and the lamps: "Have some Madeira, m'Dear!"
    – psmears
    May 30, 2011 at 16:47

Outputs would be the most common term. But "generates" is also used, especially for results that are not necessarily meant to be human readable, such as compiler output, and other intermediate or low level data.

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