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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with the development of faster, more powerful and more cost-effective microprocessors the mainframe computer has been replaced by the desktop ‘personal computer’ (PC) in routine office data-processing operations (DOWNSIZING), with PCs being linked together in LOCAL AREA NETWORKS, enabling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.

Collins Dictionary of Business, 3rd ed. © 2002, 2005 C Pass, B Lowes, A Pendleton, L Chadwick, D O’Reilly and M Afferson


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.

Collins Dictionary of Economics, 4th ed. © C. Pass, B. Lowes, L. Davies 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
It's about reading trade jour nals and the business section; becoming involved with industry organizations; networking with others in your field; and taking courses that increase your com puter, management, and interpersonal relations skills.
The Romansh variant known as Puter, for example, is close to French.
The 108-unit department store chain, with an estimated 100,000 registrants, is automating its com- puter systems to include scan guns, and will have an online bridal registry where guests can make purchases.
It can find and cure problems and, if all else fails, it can access the Net to find the blighters who made your 'puter to enlist their help if things have really gone wonky.
Apart from lectures online, Sarthak has already taught himA[degrees] self everything from the books stacked on his table about comA[degrees] puter applications, programming languages and game developA[degrees] ment platforms.
They included a television, a com puter printer, a shovel and a wooden stick with protruding screws.
Participating schools were PhilComTech Balagtas, AMA Computer Learning Center of Malolos, Strong Link School of Technology, AMA Com puter College of Malolos, Atec Technological College, Immaculate Conception International College of Arts and Technology, Liceo de Pulilan Colleges, St.
They boast three German dialects, five versions of Romansh (Sursilvan, Sutsilvan, Sumiran, Puter and Vallader), and, in four valleys, several Lombard Italian dialects.
Before joining TIC, Mr Elliott was a director of CDA - a worldwide media com puter design company and had also previously worked with NTL, Your Communi cations and WorldCom.
Scudder's job, through Chaplin's iconic Little Tramp character, was to take the fear out of buying and using a home com- puter.