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ZICA T7 - Information Technology & Business Communication

ZICA T7 - Information Technology & Business Communication

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Published by Mongu Rice

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Published by: Mongu Rice on Oct 08, 2010
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01/11/2013

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CHAPTER 1.0
Introduction to using a computer
Definition of a computer,
this is an electronic device that is made up of input devicessuch as the keyboard and is used to capture data and instructions, with the help of sets of instructions it will be able to produce results or output through devices such as printers or screens.
1.Classes of computers
Computers can be classified as follows:
Supercomputers
Mainframe computers
Minicomputers
Microcomputers, commonly called PCs1.1A supercomputer is used to process very large amounts of data very quickly. Theyare particularly useful for occasions where high volumes of calculations need to be performed, for example in meteorological or astronomical applications.1.2A mainframe computer system uses a powerful central computer, linked by cableor telecommunications to terminals. A mainframe has many times more processing power than a PC and offers extensive data storage facilities.Mainframes are used by organisations such as banks that have very large volumesof processing to perform and have special security needs. Many organizationshave now replaced their old mainframes with networked ‘client server systems of mid-range computers and PCs because this approach is thought to be the cheaper and offer more flexibility1.3A minicomputer is a computer whose size, speed and capabilities lie somewhere between those of a mainframe and a PC. The term was originally used before PCswere developed, to describe computers which were cheaper but less well-equipped than mainframe computers. With the advent of PCs and of mainframesthat are much smaller than in the past, the definition of a minicomputer has become rather vague. There is really no definition which distinguishes adequately between a PC and a minicomputer.
 
1.4PCs are now the norm for small to medium-sized business computing and for home computing, and most larger businesses now use them for day-to-day needssuch as word processing. Often they are linked together in a network to enablesharing of information between users.
Portables
1.5The original portable computers were heavy, weighing around five kilograms, andcould only be run from the mains electricity supply line. Subsequentdevelopments allow true portability.a)A laptop or notebook is powered either from electricity supply or using arechargeable battery and can include all the features and functionality of desktop PCs. b)The palmtop or handheld is increasingly compatible with true PCs. Devicesrange from basic models which are little more than electronic organizers torelatively powerful processors running ‘cut-down’ versions of Windows andMicrosoft Office, and including communications features.1.6Many computers have been designed to achieve faster computational speeds,using different architectures.1.7
Maths co-processor and Graphics co-processor.
Most processors may includespecialized and faster processors (a maths co-processor/graphics co-processor)can be used for applications requiring high-speed mathematical or graphicscomputations. Such applications could be spreadsheet calculations or complexcomputer-aided design (CAD) work. The maths co-processor supports the main processor by performing the required calculations more rapidly than the main processor. In the same way, the graphics co-processor is designed to performgraphical functions, such as the construction and maintenance of images muchfaster than the main processor. The co-processors are under the control of themain processor.1.8
Pipeline machines.
In the pipeline machine architecture each stage in the fetch-executive cycle is handled by a separate machine hardware unit. The first unitfetches an instruction from memory. At any one time there may be four or fiveinstructions within the processor each at different stages of execution in differentunits.1.9
Array processor.
In the array processor there is one control unit but multipleALUs, which are able to work in parallel with one another. They are particularlysuited to applications in which sets of values require the same operation to be performed on each value, e.g., converting every value in a table to a percentage of the total.
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2.Functions of the information processing cycle
2.1Data happens to be raw facts and figures that are meaningless until when processed, for example meter readings collected for a water company, hoursworked by employees in a factory, in a banking system, bank charges,commission etc.2.2Information is data that has been processed into something meaningful or rawdata that has been transformed into processed data. Examples of information based on the above data are; water bills, a pay slip and a bank statement.2.3In information processing a logical data file is a collection of records with similar characteristics. Examples of data files include the sales ledger, purchases ledger etc2.4A record in a file consists of data relating to one logically definable unit o business information. A collection of similar records makes up a file. For example, the records for a sales ledger file consists of customer reference number, balance owing and credit limit field2.5Records in files consist of fields of information, for example, a customers recordon the sales ledger file will include name, address, balance owing.2.6Records on a file should contain one key field. This is an item of data within therecord by which it can be uniquely identified, for example man number, accountnumber, NRC number and examination number 2.7Files are conveniently classified into transaction files, and master files2.8A transaction file contains latest activities of a business, and it’s the one that isused to update the master file. Once updating has taken place the file is discarded.In batch systems, transactions can be bundled up manually or kept in an electronicform but would only be used on a certain date to update the electronic master file.Transaction files are at times called by different names such as, changes file,movements file and amendments files2.9A master file is a semi permanent file that is periodically updated by a transactionfile in order for it to show its current status, for example a payroll master file andcustomers master file. The updating times vary depending on the application, sayweekly, fortnightly or monthly. In the case of the cinema, this will happenimmediately a transaction occurs.
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