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Data. Basic facts about business activities, e.g. material used on a job, hours worked by staff.

 

Fig. 2. Stages of processing data.

 

Data processing . Collecting all items of source data and converting them into information for processing, by manual, mechanical or electronic methods (Fig. 2)

A direct data entry system is a visual display unit plus keyboard. Data are keyed in by the operator and shown on the screen and entered in the computer for processing.

A point of sale terminal is an electronic cash register linked to a computer. These are becoming very common and can, for example, immediately check the availability of stock, current prices, or the credit position of a customer.

Data transmission is a term used to denote transmission by telecommunication systems linking a terminal with a central computer.

Real-time processing involves entering data in a computer and this is processed immediately, files are updated, giving current position (as in airline booking systems).

Microcomputer. This is basically a small computer which is smaller than a minicomputer. The popular PC (personal computer) is a microcomputer.

A microprocessorforms part of a microcomputer and consists of an arithmetic unit, control unit and memory. The simplest form of minicomputer is a microprocessor, with a keyboard for input, display screen for output.

Modem. Device connecting the computer to a telephone line along which data may be sent to another distant computer terminal or one not part of the same network system.

Software is a term used to describe all programs supplied by manufacturers or specialists for use in a computer.

Hardware refers to basic machines in a computer system consisting of input and output devices, central processing unit and other storage devices.


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