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Fig. 23 Computer. The main items of hardware.


an electronic/electromechanical device which accepts alphabetical and numerical data in a predefined form, stores and processes this data according to the instructions contained in a COMPUTER PROGRAM, and presents the analysed data in an organized form. Fig. 23 shows the main items of computer HARDWARE, with input devices like KEYBOARDS, and magnetic tape readers; the CPU (central processing unit) which manipulates data; DISK DRIVES which provide additional data storage capacity; and output devices like PRINTERS and VISUAL DISPLAY UNITS. The figure shows how a number of computers may be linked in a LOCAL AREA NETWORK, in this case to process customer orders, maintain the sales LEDGER and issue INVOICES.

Big ‘mainframe’ computers are used to handle large databases. For example, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency in Swansea holds over 60 million records on its mainframe computer. Increasingly, however, with the development of faster, more powerful and more cost-effective microprocessors the mainframe computer has been replaced by the desktop ‘personal computer’ (PC) in routine office data-processing operations (DOWNSIZING), with PCs being linked together in LOCAL AREA NETWORKS, enabling them to share data. A further development has been the introduction of small portable computers typified by the ‘notebook’ personal computer which can be carried in a briefcase.

Computers have dramatically improved the productivity of DATA PROCESSING in business, facilitating the keeping of ACCOUNTING ledger records like sales ledger, purchases ledger and payroll and personal records by small numbers of clerical staff. In addition, software packages like SPREADSHEETS and WORD PROCESSORS have improved the presentation and analysis of management information, helping to improve decision-making. See FLEXIBLE MANUFACTURING SYSTEM, PRODUCTION LINE, ELECTRONIC MAIL SYSTEM, COMPUTER-AIDED DESIGN, COMPUTER-AIDED MANUFACTURING, INFORMATION MANAGEMENT, BULLETIN BOARD, MODEM, INTERNET.


an electronic/electromechanical device that accepts alphabetical and numerical data in a predetermined form, stores and processes this data according to instructions contained in a computer program, and presents the analysed data. Computers have dramatically improved the productivity of data processing in commerce and business; for example, computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing systems have improved the speed and cost with which new components or products can be assigned and subsequently scheduled for production;

computer-aided distribution and stock control systems such as ELECTRONIC POINT OF SALE (EPOS) have helped to minimize stockholdings and have improved customer services; computers have rapidly taken over the manual tasks of keeping accounting records such as company sales and payroll. Computers have also played a prominent role in speeding up the response of commodity and financial markets to changing demand and supply conditions by processing and reporting transactions quickly.

In recent years computers have underpinned the rapid expansion of E-COMMERCE using the INTERNET. See STOCK EXCHANGE, AUTOMATION, MASS PRODUCTION.

References in periodicals archive ?
we shall within 2 decades see the digital computer take over much of the risering practice.
One reason for this is that the term computer is often wrongly interpreted to exclusively denote serial digital computers.
We use the term digital computer to describe the computers we build, although in fact a true digital computer is an abstraction.
SuperDJ architecture enables a digital computer to run real time audio, video, and game applications while the processor enters a deep sleep state, resulting in minimal power consumption.
The GR-DV1 is a true digital recorder; like its cousins digital audio tape (DAT) and MiniDisc (MD), Digital Video (DV) converts analog signals to digital computer bits and stores these bits on the tape.
SkyLynx Communications (OTCBB:SKYC), a worldwide provider of secure, high-availability, dedicated wireless data networks for fixed and mobile applications, announced today that it has entered into a Definitive Agreement for the acquisition of Digital Computer Integration Corporation (DCI) in an all-stock transaction.
This didn't sit well with certain elements, and the same government that enlisted his help during the war and later encouraged his development of the first electronic, stored-program, digital computer ultimately shoved him aside because his sexuality made him a so-called security risk.
a global leader in designing and developing high-performance embedded software, today announced that it has formed a partnership with Yokogawa Digital Computer Corporation (YDC) to market and sell Ardence's embedded solutions in Japan.
The assumption by some authors that SSL is "digital" may be related to the fact that SSL devices are solid-state semiconductors, and almost all digital computers are based on solid-state semiconductor switches.

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