Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Acronyms, Idioms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to computer: Computer generations
Computerclick for a larger image
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with the development of faster, more powerful and more cost-effective microprocessors the mainframe computer has been replaced by the desktop ‘personal computer’ (PC) in routine office data-processing operations (DOWNSIZING), with PCs being linked together in LOCAL AREA NETWORKS, enabling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 ?
If that is not enough to worry about, there are some less serious conditions that your computer can catch, but they are still annoying afflictions, Brown says.
Although the computer user has some recourse against computer viruses, the costs may be high.
Although most patches are necessary, they're not without occasional problems that can disable an application or make your computer act cockeyed.
The refurbished computers are placed in computer labs, libraries and classrooms, but the district also purchases new units for teacher stations and high-end applications.
Second, the teens met with the home's IT specialist to learn to accommodate the elderly's special needs in operating the computer. Poor eyesight, arthritis, and memory loss can be barriers to learning how to use the computer.
Indeed, the detectors indicated about a third of the time that, with no photon going into the computer, and thus no search, the computer had yielded the correct answer to the question: Was there a mismatch between the incoming photon and the chosen database location?
Kelleher wants middle schoolers, especially girls, to get excited about working with computers. Using an interactive computer program called Alice, Kelleher has made it her mission to show kids all the exciting opportunities that open up when you can talk to these machines in a language that they can understand.
Additionally, Notice 2005-90 provides guidance on the requirement that the back-to-back computer program licensing arrangement be in the "ordinary course of the licensor's and licensee's respective trades or businesses."This requirement will be met if (1) the arrangement is consistent with normal business practices of the master licensor, independent of tax considerations, such as maintaining a centralized customer relationship with its licensee and minimizing administrative burdens and commercial risks; (2) the master licensor or one or more members of its affiliated group (as defined in Sec.
The authors review the trends in the use of computers in the delivery and support of career guidance and counseling identified at the symposium International Perspectives on Career Development.
Computer Network Security course typically covers fundamental computer network security concepts, secure network implementation, security threats to computers and computer networks, methods to encounter security threats, concepts of firewalls, their design and implementation, pre-emptive hacking tools, intrusion detection systems, host security, etc.

Full browser ?