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Fig. 23 Computer. The main items of hardware.

computer

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with the development of faster, more powerful and more cost-effective microprocessors the mainframe computer has been replaced by the desktop ‘personal computer’ (PC) in routine office data-processing operations (DOWNSIZING), with PCs being linked together in LOCAL AREA NETWORKS,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

computer

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 ?
In the case of computer signs, change easily occurs (a computer language system does not have any restrictions corresponding to the social conventions that stabilize sign values.
As president and CEO of The Computer Language Company, he is widely noted for his ability to make sense out of high-tech.
Version 1.0 of TMS was written in a computer language called Clipper and simply automated all of the standardized training listing information and put it in the same format.
* Computer codes: The "beef" of a video game: written instructions that the computer translates into a series of numbers called binary code (a two-digit computer language made of zeros and ones).
The three firms want the Japanese unit to develop and add specifications for the Japanese language to Voice Extensible Markup Language (VoiceXML), a computer language that enables people to get access to the Internet by voice commands through such equipment as mobile phones, the officials said.
The Internet is helpful, for example, in learning more about a new computer language, they say
The International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC) has adopted a universal computer language. This computerized Esperanto is NewsML, which is based on the widely used XML (extensible markup language).
The study, in which over 1,000 Internet users across Britain were asked to define common web words or phrases, revealed that the term 'html' - a computer language for displaying worlds and images on web pages - was unknown to three-quarters of the respondents.
The Computer Language Company has announced that it is now shipping version 12.4 of its Computer Desktop Encyclopedia CD-ROM, which contains more than 14,000 definitions, illustrations, photographs, and diagrams and 900 additions/revisions from the previous quarter.
A modem changes computer language into sound so that messages can be sent through a telephone line.
The IRS issued summonses for copies of the international and foreign modules of the Tax Management System (ITMS/FTMS), now owned by Computer Language Research Inc.
BIT: The smallest part that makes up computer language. Eight bits, known as a byte, are needed to store one character on a computer.

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