A DAW, which stand for Digital Audio Workstation, is software used for the recording, editing and mixing of digital audio. DAW's started off as integrated hardware units but nowadays, a DAW most commonly refers to recording software.
DAW's follow many conventions from hardware recording set ups. You even have a virtual mixer console and can route audio similarly to hardware set ups. You can also process individual audio tracks using plugins such as EQ, compressors and reverbs.