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with the development of faster, more powerful and more cost-effective microprocessors the mainframe computer has been replaced by the desktop ‘personal computer’ (PC) in routine office data-processing operations (DOWNSIZING), with PCs being linked together in LOCAL AREA NETWORKS,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

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.

References in periodicals archive ?
Computer technology and the Internet are tools that allow education to be more accessible and convenient to people regardless of location.
Michael May, a highly successful basketball coach for the past 19 years, is also an authority on sports computer technology.
Technological information is available from many different sources, some of which deal with computer technology and some of which are more oriented toward rehabilitation engineering and assistive devices.
Computer technology also has a place in intentional learning of vocabulary by serving as a multipurpose tool for direct instruction.
As with any other crime, the elements of a computer-related offense must be established for successful prosecution, not a particularly easy task in light of the nature of computer technology.
Kashya's win of the highly coveted award -- the first given by Computer Technology Review in three years -- was announced in an article titled "Kashya KBX5000 Unites Two Worlds," which appeared in the publication's June/July 2005 issue.
Global ePoint, through its Contract Manufacturing division, is a leading provider of the computer technology used to control x-ray scanning equipment in airports and other public and private settings.
Kontron, a market leader in embedded computer technology, today strengthened its family of ATCA/AMC solutions with the launch at the Bus & Board Conference of two new products that dramatically increase the number of design options for Telecom Equipment Manufacturers (TEMs) building high performance, carrier grade network applications.
However, authors of the report recommend school districts to utilize computer technology more by incorporating it into the curriculum.
Information Experts, a leading strategic communications firm providing e-learning, marketing communications, and strategy services to government and industry, announced today that it has formed a strategic partnership with Computer Technology Services, Inc.
Modern computer technology such as that donated by Optimus Solutions, has proven invaluable in analysis of complex language patterns, compiling dictionaries, and the typesetting of literacy, health and development materials," said Ray Parker, Director for Operations at Wycliffe.
57% of all teachers believe computer technology increases parent-teacher communication.

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