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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with the development of faster, more powerful and more cost-effective microprocessors the mainframe computer has been replaced by the desktop ‘personal computer’ (PC) in routine office data-processing operations (DOWNSIZING), with PCs being linked together in LOCAL AREA NETWORKS, enabling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 ?
Students can learn programming concepts from different perspectives through these learning products.
The main drawback is that because the book does not cover important advanced programming concepts or object-oriented design, most readers will still need another book to move beyond the basics.
Readers should be familiar with the Unix shell, basic shell commands, and general programming concepts.
This paper describes how the TI-92+ calculator can be valuable in illustrating basic and advanced programming concepts in introductory computer science courses.
area-based entertainment, convention and conference production company, announced it has been retained under a two-year agreement to provide TV programming concepts to Intermat, an industry leader in TV content consulting.
Zak presents students, academics, and professionals working in wide variety of contexts with the fifth edition of her comprehensive overview of MicrosoftEs Visual Basic 2012 software program, including core programming concepts, business applications, and game applications.
Part 1 introduces programming concepts, beginning with basics of computers, computing, and programming, Unix/Linux and Windows, and Scala basics.
NET, covers high-level programming concepts, beginning with a two-chapter tour of built-in controls, and subsequent material on communications, programming for animation, and managing media and images.
In the computer science arena, Discovery Machine technology can be an important component of programming concepts education, even for non-computer science majors.
It discusses programming concepts and techniques, the fundamentals of the Visual Basic 2012 programming language, and graphical user interface design principles, and covers program design and coding, variables and arithmetic operations, decision and loop structures, using procedures and exception handling, using arrays and file handling, creating web applications, incorporating databases with ADO.
Shelly and Hoisington (Central Virginia Community College) supply students with a textbook on Microsoft Visual Basic 2010 that integrates demonstrations with discussion of programming concepts and techniques.
The approach he takes throughout is to present concrete examples and then discuss the more general programming concepts the examples illustrate.

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