All Topics

A Computer System Algorithms and Flowcharts Applications Software Bar Codes Batch Processing Billing Systems Bits and Bytes Booking Systems Bulletin Boards Bus, Star and Ring Networks Cache CAD/CAM CAL and Computers in School Administration CAM Codes of Practice COM Computer Control in Hospitals Computer Misuse Act Control Systems CPU (Central Processing Unit) Data Data Collection Data Compression Data Encoding Data Protection Act Data Security Data Transfer

A Computer System. A computer system has three main stages :

1. The Input Stage - where data is put into the computer. 2. The Processing Stage - where the data is processed. 3. The Output Stage - where the results are displayed.
A computer also needs to store data for later use. This is done on a backing storage device.

A typical computer system :

The arrows show the flow of data.

Algorithms and Flowcharts An algorithm is a sequence of steps used to complete a task. Algorithms may be presented... • • • in words as a flowchart in structured code
The word 'sequence' implies there is an order to the steps.

A computer program is an algorithm written for a computer in a special programming language.

Example in words : Go straight on to the traffic lights, turn left and take the third turning on the right. If the red gate is open then go through it, otherwise go through the green gate. Example as a flowchart :
Flowcharts have terminators (Start and Stop boxes)...and the algorithm is determined by direction on the flow lines. Decision boxes are diamond shaped.

Example in structured code : Go straight on to the traffic lights; Turn left; Take the third turning on the right; If the red gate is open then go through the red gate else go through the green gate end if; Applications Software

Each line is executed in turn...

Programs can be configured to the specific needs of a user by altering the coding. Examples : • • • • • school management software. Bar codes are read using a Bar Code Reader. An applications package is a complete set of applications programs and documentation. Bar Codes A bar code is a set of parallel printed lines of differing thicknesses which are used to store coded information about an item. • • Applications programmers write the software using a computer programming language. This method of data entry is used in big shops and . which can be in the form of a hand-held ‘wand’ or a stationary laser scanner over which the bar code is passed. a school homework essay etc) spreadsheet program a database program. computer game If an application program can be used in many different areas it is usually called a generic program (or content-free program). Examples: • a word processing program (can be used to produce a legal document.An applications program enables a user to perform a specific function. taxi service system. a newspaper article. air traffic control system. theatre booking system.

Example : Payroll . how much electricity the customer has used this year. meter readers go round each house to read the electricity meter. Every customer receives an electricity bill which must be paid. The data must be validated before it is processed to A document produced by the computer which is later used as input is called a turnaround document. The reading is recorded onto pre-printed forms.when a company calculates the wages for its workforce and prints payslips. The file will also include information such as latest meter readings. Jobs are stored in job queues until the computer is ready to process them. This may be done using OMR or OCR.. Computers which do batch processing often operate at night. how much has been paid etc. Advantages • • • a fast method of data entry eliminates possible human error Disadvantages scratched or crumpled barcodes may cause problems Batch Processing A batch processing system is one where programs and data are collected together in a batch before processing starts. There is no interaction between the user and the computer while the program is being run. Billing Systems An example of a billing system is . The electricity company has a large database (master file) of all its customers. or by manually keying in the data. .. At regular intervals.supermarkets and in libraries. Each piece of work for a batch processing system is called a job. A job usually consists of a program and the data to be run.electricity payments. The forms are all collected and input to the computer system.

The customer then pays the bill by either sending a cheque or by credit/debit card. Some customers may pay by monthly standing orders or direct debits. Payments received will need to be recorded as transactions on a transaction file and used to update the master file. These bills will be posted to the customers. • • customer usage or spending patterns (eg seasonal variations) payments .. For some billing systems statistical analysis can be done on . Keyed data will need to be verified to check for transcribing errors.. The electricity bill for each customer is calculated by the computer and printed.make sure no 'silly' data is input.

. B is 01000010 etc. (A is 01000001. so to store the word ‘FRED’ would need 4 bytes of storage. 1011001011001010 0110100100010111 1110101110110100 1101101000100010 0001001010010010 1001011011101010 .. This is measured in bytes.. Each of these can only be in one state (0) or the other (1). so 1 Mb = 1024 x 1024 bytes = 1048576 bytes (approx 1 million) A Gigabyte (abbreviated to Gb) is 1024 Mb so 1 Gb = 1024 x 1048576 = 1073741824 bytes (approx 1 billion) You can think of data stored in memory or on disc as looking like. A Kilobyte is 1024 bytes.... 1 byte of storage is needed to store one character. Data is stored in memory as a number of 0s and 1s. Each of these is called a bit (Binary digIT). A Megabyte (abbreviated to Mb) is 1024 kilobytes. and you will sometimes see a computer described as having 640K RAM. 8 bits is called 1 byte. Using the ASCII system of coding each character is stored as a unique 8-bit pattern.Bits and Bytes The size of a computer's memory is measured by the amount of data which can be stored in it. so for example the number 0110 is a 4-bit binary number..).Most computers use the same system so data can be transferred from one computer to another. Booking Systems . A Kilobyte is usually abbreviated to K.. This means that there are 640 kilobytes of memory in the computer. The reason that binary numbers are used is that memory consists of millions of two-state devices (think of them as switches).. ASCII stands for American Standard Code for Information Interchange.

The computer will check to see if the booking is available.. This data is validated to check if the details are sensible. When a booking is made. • • • • at a computer terminal in a multi-access system.and many others. if it is. by transcribing them from a paper booking form. This is an example of a multi-access system.. the customer will need to provide input details (name. trains.It is now possible to make bookings on-line for holidays. This form (on an Internet web page) is used for collecting details of a passenger's booking on the Eurotunnel. theatre performances. on a form on an Internet web page.. the booking is . number of people etc). A travel agent for example.. place. and. planes. hotel rooms. These details are then used as input data when the booking is made. These details may be entered . date. may have computers in all its branches directly connected to a central computer where a database of all bookings is stored. by typing them in when in telephone communication with the customer.

so the database will have to be regularly backed up . confirming the booking and giving details about it. then these can generally be done on-line using a Credit card or a Debit card.possibly using a tape streamer. the website must be secure so that this information cannot be stolen. As soon as a customer makes a booking it has to be processed immediately. If payments for the booking are required. Star and Ring Networks Network topologies (ways in which computers are arranged in a network) Bus Each computer is linked to a bus (cable) and there are terminators at each end of the bus. Bus. Less cabling but can be slow if there are a large number of users. If details of these are transmitted over the Internet. enabling worldwide 'newsgroups' to exchange information on topics of interest. Documents will need to be output to give to the customer. Especially popular on Usenet. so that no other customer can make the same booking. This means it is a real-time (transaction processing) system. Bulletin Boards A bulletin board is accessible using the Internet and is a place where people who share a common interest may leave or read messages. It is essential that no data is lost.made and it will then store the booking details in the database. .

Ring Token Ring Network 'Tokens' of data are passed round the ring (in one direction only) and collected by the receiving computer. Access from disk is much slower than from RAM so the speed of operation will be reduced if disk cache is used. The computer will seem to have more memory than it really has. A faster system and it is easier to add more computers.Star Star Network All computers are connected to a central computer (file server). . Data stored in memory which is not actually needed immediately is temporarily moved into the disk cache and moved back into memory when it is needed. Most computers use a part of the hard disk as extra memory. Cache Modern software usually requires a large amount of memory in a computer in order to operate. CAD/CAM CAD stands for Computer Aided Design. The disadvantage is that if this file server breaks down then all the computers are affected.

.. Graphics tablets. Example : CAD can be used for interior design work. Arranging furniture in a room. graphics pad or touch-screen monitors. CAD can be used to design. Some CAD packages allow 3D design. The arrangement can be changed on the computer and 'tested' without needing to move actual furniture around. • • • cars bridges buildings ..CAD is used for displaying and editing designs on the computer.The image can be rotated or viewed from different angles. (Graphics pads) Input may be from a keyboard.. Calculations can often be made. This can be viewed from a number of different angles.

used as input for a CAM process..• • • • boats engines circuit boards . CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machines such as • • • • • • lathes milling machines drilling machines welding machines soldering machines robots. CNC devices receive the production instructions from the computer as numbers. volumes. In the CAD/CAM process slight changes to design are quickly and easily made and implemented..... stresses etc) designs can be tested (eg electrical circuits) .printed out using a graph plotter.. CAM uses a computer to control a manufacturing process.. . Finished designs may be • • CAM stands for Computer Aided Manufacture.are used to produce the product. • • • • • creating and editing new designs viewing designs from different angles adding standard pre-designed shapes from a library calculations (areas.and many more Facilities include.... .. .. The result of any change can be quickly analysed..

so greater motivation students can learn at any time students can learn from any place eg home students proceed at their own pace not so many teachers needed ..notes and other resources graphics sound ..A milling machine.for the student to know how much has been learned. • • • • text . CAL and Computers in School Administration CAL stands for Computer Assisted Learning. You are using CAL right now! • CAL systems use interactive computing. Cutters on a swivelling head receive instructions and shape a block of metal.. Benefits of CAL. CAL courses may use . • • • • • more interesting learning with interactive systems and multimedia .a commentary or music background animation self assessments ..

. CAM CAM stands for Computer Aided Manufacture. Output from a computer is used to control CNC manufacturing machines such as millers or lathes.or even knitting machines. Computers in School Administration Most schools now have a large database of pupil details. A school which has networked computers may have an Intranet which provides web-based resources available at any workstation. Spreadsheets may be used to calculate and monitor the school's financial budget.Pupils generally learn better when they study on their own and can learn at their own pace. Timetables are produced using special software. The . medical information etc.) CAD/CAM is the whole process of design and manufacture using computers. Some school may have on-line registration systems where pupils use swipe-cards (with magnetic strips).. This database will store personal data about the pupils as well as the classes they take. This database can be searched to produce eg class lists Pupil assessments may also be recorded (test and exam results) so that pupil progress can be monitored. (CNC stands for Computer Numerical Control and means that instructions for the machines are given as numbers. their teachers. Word processing or DTP software may be used to produce documents for the teachers or pupils. CAD is used to produce the design of a product and the code to run the CNC machine is output.

machine then manufactures the product. Microfiche readers are needed to read the very small text and pictures. It is not legally binding but the business would ask an employee to agree to it before being employed and would be grounds for dismissal if they were not obeyed. All employees would conduct their business in a similar way. Microfilm is a roll of film and microfiche is a rectangular sheet of film on which many frames (pages of information) can be stored. It ensures consistency of practice. Codes of Practice A Code of Practice is a set of standards that a business would expect its employees to conform to. It is always in the best interest of a business to treat its customers fairly and with due consideration .or they will go elsewhere. Advantages : • • uses much less storage space film lasts longer than paper Computer Control in Hospitals . COM COM is a technique of reducing documents in size and photographically printing them so that they can be read using a special magnifying machine. Example : Newspapers might be archived on microfiche.

. Sensors attached to a patient monitor • • • • pulse temperature blood pressure breathing rate The readings are taken at regular intervals and used as input to a computer. monitoring can be continuously done 24 hours a day no chance of human errors due to eg tiredness frees the nursing staff to carry out other duties these systems are expensive but.. The Computer Misuse Act makes it illegal to... gain unauthorised access to a computer's data with the intention of altering or deleting it.. • • • • gain unauthorised access to a computer's software or data (hacking) .. These systems may be used for • • • • • • patients in intensive care (eg after operations) prematurely born babies The advantages of this system.The main use of computer control in hospitals is in lifesupport systems.including the illegal copying of programs.. If any of these readings goes outside acceptable levels an output signal sets off an alarm to alert the nursing staff. gain unauthorised access to a computer's data for blackmail purposes. . This includes planting viruses. copying programs illegally (software piracy) A conviction may lead to a fine and a 5-year prison sentence.. Computer Misuse Act The Copyright Act makes it illegal to copy and use a file or software without the owner's permission.disadvantages.

The output signal may be sent a to an actuator which activates a mechanical device such as a motor. light sensors. to activate the ventilators or sprinkler systems. if necessary. Commonly used sensors are .. The computer responds by sending an output signal to a control interface which activates various devices eg a switch or an alarm. sensors are used to measure a physical quantity and send input to the controlling computer. In a control system. The computer will then analyse the data and send output signals. The control interface is needed because of the different operating characteristics of the computer and the devices. humidity sensors. The CPU has three main parts. sound sensors. movement it carries out the instructions of the program being run. (Arithmetic and Logic Unit) which performs all the calculations. Sensors continually send information about the temperature and humidity in the greenhouse to the computer. CPU (Central Processing Unit) The Central Processing Unit (CPU) of a computer is the main processor which operates the computer .U. The Control Unit .which controls the A microprocessor . • • The A. Example: A computer may be used to control a greenhouse..heat sensors.L.Exercise : Computer Misuse Act The Computer Misuse Act was introduced to prevent Viruses Copyright infringements Hacking Using computer data for blackmail or fraud Illegal deleting or altering of computer data Control Systems The output from a computer may be in the form of a signal to a hardware device.

A computer processes data to output information. Data can be of different types Data Type Text (alphanumeric) Decimal (real numbers) Integers Currency Dates Calculated Examples John Smith 432. Microcomputers would have a single CPU but parallel computers have a number of processors which share the processing tasks. Pictures Sounds Boo! Moving graphics / Video Clips In a computer system. Data consists of raw facts and figures. Examples : Exam marks.which is used to store data.flow of data round the computer by sending out control signals.5 432 £12. People apply rules and make deductions from this information to produce knowledge. . • Memory . ALL data is represented as numbers. Data Computers process data.50 12/03/02 an average of exam marks. facts from a survey. readings from a light sensor.

One method of avoiding transcription errors is verification. easily read and should match the document being copied. OCR. Example : School registers.. When data is typed the input screen should be designed to be attractive.If we put the wrong data into a computer we will get the wrong results.. Answers to questions are filled in by people on speciallyprepared forms. MICR). .. (GIGO = Garbage In Garbage Out) Data Collection Before data is input to a computer it needs to be collected. Data preparation is the process of transferring the data into a form which can be processed by a computer. These answers will then need to be typed into a computer for analysing..but often the data is typed in. This is called transcribing the data. Data capture Forms must be designed so they have instructions. Data Compression .dd/mm/yy This method is liable to errors when the data is entered into the computer (Transcription errors).. Example : A membership form for a club may need to be filled in by a pupil wanting to join. The data is entered twice by two different people and the computer will only accept the data if the two versions are identical. Eg Format of dates should be specified . These forms are called data capture forms (questionnaires) and need to be carefully designed.. Some forms can be read automatically by special machines (OMR.. are easy to fill in and there should be no doubts as to how to enter data. There are several methods of doing this: Data Capture Forms.

.but consists of 6 numbers instead of 10. PKZip and WinRar Common file extensions of compressed files are ... This.. • • • makes data entry easier (less to type) saves storage space makes validation easier Validation rules can be set to check if gender data entered into a database is either 'M' or 'F'. This is useful when files are to be transmitted over a network or attached to an email as the transfer will take less time.rar Compressed files are often referred to as Zipped files. eg The data 28 28 28 45 45 45 45 45 81 81 could be stored as 3 28 5 45 2 81 with no loss of 'F' for Female). Example : Normally each character is stored as an 8-bit binary number. Graphics files take up a lot of space and usually include a number of repeated bytes. (encryption) Data Protection Act . One method of compressing data is to assign the common characters a smaller number of bits and the less commonly used characters a larger number of bits.. A special program is needed for compression and for decompression although some compressed files will automatically decompress themselves.. For example a gender field may be stored as codes (eg 'M' for Male. Some examples of Compression programs are WinZip. A number of different codes are defined for the data.When storing a file. A disadvantage is that the file will need to be decompressed before it can be used. .. Data Encoding Data may be encoded when it is stored. Data may also be encoded for security reasons.. a program can be run which compresses the data so that the data takes up less storage space.

. ... The organisation must.There are many organisations which hold personal information about individuals... Examples : • • • • • Tax Office Doctor / Dentist National Insurance DVLC Police .. • • • • • • • • gather the data fairly and lawfully gather only data needed for the stated purpose make sure the data is not used for any reason other than the stated purpose make sure the data is accurate and up-to-date make sure the data is secure not keep the data for longer than is necessary view the data stored about him have the data changed if it is incorrect The individual has the right to The exemptions to the Data Protection Act are organisations that hold data The Data Protection Act (1998) states that organisations which store personal information must register and state the purpose for which they need the information.htm Exercise : Data Protection Act The Data Protection Act states that organisations that hold personal data must register and state the purpose for which the data is needed. The organisation must make sure that.and many others.hmso. • • • National Security Crime Taxation The full details of the Data Protection Act can be found at

view data held about them have incorrect data changed refuse to have their data stored Exemptions to the Act are organisations which hold data involved with crime. If it belongs to an authorised person. taxes or National security. Different people may have different levels of authorisation. retina (eye) scans. Methods of identifying people from biological data are called 'Biometrics' and include fingerprint scans.. or edit the data. the computer allows entry to a room or allows access to a computer. If the data falls into the wrong hands it will be meaningless. Encryption (software) The data may be encrypted (coded) into a form which can only then be decoded by the intended user. He should be the only one to know what it identify the person. Data Security Ways of keeping data secure include the following software and physical methods: Passwords (software) Password protection usually involves a person typing in. If the password is accepted. A Password .the data is formatted correctly the data is kept up-to-date and accurate the data is only used for the stated purpose the data is passed on to other companies the data is kept secure the data is collected fairly and law fully only data needed for the stated purpose is gathered the data is backed up regularly the data must not be kept longer than necessary (select only the relevant lines) The individual has the right authenticate the person. A User Name .. .. the person is then authorised to view. face recognition. Voice prints (physical) A person speaks into a microphone and the computer analyses the voice..

Identity Cards (physical) Backups To guard against the loss of data. If data is lost then it can be re-created by . (Fire-proof safes are available). Some computers may have locks on them. In order to gain access to a room or a computer. a person may have to swipe an identity card through a card reader. File dumps on paper can be a useful back-up. These backups should be stored in a separate place. backups should be regularly made. preferably in a fire-proof environment. Transactio n Log A transaction log is a record of all transactions made by a business since the last backup was made.Locks (physical) Rooms may be locked.

.. Cable can be twisted-pair. . .. Data Transmission Data in a network can be transmitted using : Cable Each computer has a network card installed with appropriate network software. coaxial. . or optical fibre. . Example : A graphic created using a graphics package may be saved. Each computer needs a special wireless network card.loading the previous backup and reentering all the transactions.gif. A wireless hub receives and transmits data to each computer. Data Transfer Data created using one software package may often be transferred into another. and is linked to another computer using a network cable.tif etc.doc..bmp. This transfer is possible because of standard file formats.. Infra-red. . emailed to another user who could import it into a wordprocessed document. Standard file formats for graphics include .. Wireless (Microwave. infra-red or microwaves. Radio) Data is transmitted using radio.. The transfer may be between different software packages or between different computers.jpeg. Standard file formats for text include .rtf..txt Data may also be transferred between applications using copy and paste. Different applications software will store data in the same format.

If the speed is slow.. type check A check that data is of the right type. Eg Customers may be required to have their telephone numbers. Methods used for validation are. Eg the month of a person's DOB should lie between 1 and 12 presence check This checks that important data is actually there and has not been missed out... Data Transmission speeds may vary. text etc length check Checks that fields have the correct Presence checks can be carried out by running queries that look for 'Null' fields. . range check This checks that the data lies within a specified range of values. • • a user will find it takes a long time for a response from a computer to be made it will take a long time to download data Data Validation Data validation checks that the data is sensible before it is processed.No cabling involved. Eg number. Satellite There are now hundreds of satellites orbiting the Earth which can be used to 'bounce' signals off..

. Verification is used to prevent errors occurring when data is copied from one medium to another. The last digit is a check digit. Checking for errors by looking through the data. Numerical fields may be added together for all records in a batch. disk to disk. The computer will only accept the data for processing if the two versions are identical. Double keying Used to check for transcription errors. (eg paper to disk. The computer checks this calculation when data is entered. Eg A bank account number may always be 10 digits long. An extra digit is added to a number which is calculated from the other digits. hash totals This is just a batch total done on a meaningless field. Data Verification It is important to prevent errors occurring in data. memory to disk) Methods used for verification. Eg Add the Telephone Numbers together for a number of Customers. Eg Add the 'Total Cost' field of a number of transactions together. each binary number is checked to see if it still has an even number of '1' bits. Eg The ISBN number on a book. check digits Used for numerical data. After transmission. batch totals This checks for missing records. The batch total is entered and the computer checks that the total is correct.. Used to check for transmission errors over networks or between memory and disk. The data is entered twice (by two different people).number of characters. Even parity systems make sure that each number has an even number of '1' bits. Example (Even parity) Visual check Parity . An extra bit is added to each binary number before it is transmitted. Eg Proof-reading a typed document.

... Databases allow the user to. Data is stored in files (tables). Each file (table) has a number of related records. set security levels .. • • • • • • • • define the data structure (field names and types) enter and edit data import data from saved files or other applications search for data by using queries (including AND..If 11010111 is transmitted .. Each record consists of related fields.. averages etc. OR and NOT) sort data into alphabetic or numeric order validate data on entry output reports which may include totals. Microsoft Access is an example of a Database package.(6 '1' bits) and 11010011 is received . Databases A database stores and organises data and allows the user to access it in a number of different ways. (5 '1' bits) then the computer knows a corruption of the data has occurred.

. computers and peripherals are linked together. • • • instructions for installation instructions for use trouble-shooting guide (what to do if it goes wrong!) The Technical manual is written for other programmers who may need to alter some of the software and may include technical computer terms. Each user is not aware of which computer or peripheral he is using. The Technical Manual is written for other programmers or computer experts and may include.. The operating system will control access to the resources. The resolution of the pictures can be set .Digital camera A photograph can be taken by a digital camera and then downloaded into the computer from the camera. Some digital cameras are used as surveillance cameras eg for taking pictures of speeding cars. Distributed Systems In a distributed system. .. There is no need to buy film. The User Manual is written for the user and may include.. Documentation All software packages include documentation.. The User Manual is written to make sure the user can use the software and should be written in simple language.more pictures can be taken at a lower resolution. A user on one computer may be running a program stored on another computer accessing data stored on yet another computer.

This will be helped if long wordy explanations are replaced by.. Retailers create websites which display the items they are selling. • • • • • graphs tables flowcharts diagrams photos E-Commerce Shopping over the Internet is increasingly popular.. and then pay by credit or debit card. possibility of credit card information getting into the wrong hands you cannot see or touch the goods before buying Electronic Office and Safety . Advantages of e-commerce: • • • • greater range of goods can be done from home goods are delivered to the door-step the business does not have to provide and pay for premises Disadvantages : • • • there is a couple of days delay before receiving goods. Customers load the web-site and add the items they wish to buy to a 'shopping-basket'. (Credit card details are encrypted on secure sites) The goods are delivered to the buyer's house.• • data flow diagrams (or flowcharts) showing how the program works. program listings Documentation should explain software (or a system) as simply as possible.

from lack of exercise. • • • finding information should be fast costs should be reduced (eg cost of paper) storage space should be minimal Computers would be used. contracts. letters.. An Intranet would store important information used by the business... Email would be used to send messages to customers and between employees... • • • • • for word processing eg for documents... for presentations eg annual report. • • • • eye strain (looking at computer monitors for too long) neck/back strain . for databases eg of customer details.from poor seating arrangements RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) .. for spreadsheets eg accounts and budgets. daily transactions.. These computers would be networked. fitness problems .tendon injury from using keyboards too much.. for DTP (Desk Top Publishing) for creating pamphlets.... Health risks.. In the paperless office.. The aim is to make a paperless office ..where all information is sent and received electronically. brochures. .Most businesses use ICT in their office. The business may use the Internet for advertising and allowing e-commerce.

do not bring food or drink near computer equipment. make sure fire extinguishers are installed. This picture shows how you should be sitting at a computer! Other measures for prevention of accidents. • • • • Email Email stands for Electronic Each user has a unique email address. do not overload electric sockets. A user can send messages to another computer user. Files (text. do not leave wires where they can be tripped over. music. attachment files can be sent no stamp needed can be sent from home ... Advantages of email over conventional mail (snail-mail) : • • • • • • messages arrive much faster (within a few seconds) it is cheaper to send an email one message can be sent to a number of users. video clips etc) can be sent with the message as an attachment.The study of the working environment is called ergonomics.

processing and output of data. Examples : Microwave Washing machine . These deal with the input. Email facilities may also include. Embedded systems An embedded system has processors built in to a machine.Some viruses spread by sending emails to all the users in the address book..filters can be used to eliminate this. • • • • reply to a received message forward a message on to another user keep an address book of email addresses keep mailing lists so that the same message can be sent to groups of users WARNING!.Disadvantages of email : • • • • • you can only send a message to other users with email accounts email attachments can contain viruses you cannot send physical objects messages can only be sent to other email users unwanted junk email may be sent to you in large amounts! .

. Most jobs now require some ICT skills.and many more. Employment ICT has changed the nature of jobs. • • • • • • • computer programmers systems analysts computer technicians robot maintenance boring or repetitive jobs replaced by robots (Eg assembly line) dangerous jobs replaced by robots office jobs .fewer workers needed Jobs which have been lost include. New jobs created include ... mobile phones... boring or paper-based employment to lose their jobs manual assembly w orker refuse collector office filing clerk type-setters in a printing firm taxi driver eg but has created others . digital cameras. Other examples : Traffic lights...A guided missile. calculators.. games consoles. Some jobs have been created and others have been lost. Workers have often had to be re-trained to use ICT in their workplace... ATMs (cash machines). Exercise : Employment ICT has caused some workers in repetitive. DVD players..

Expert Systems An expert system is a knowledge-based system which attempts to replace a human 'expert' in a particular field... The system will consist of • • • a large database of knowledge facilities for searching the knowledge database a set of rules for making deductions from the data (inference engine) Example . A set of evaluation criteria may be specified.What hardware and software will be needed? The hardware chosen must be appropriate.. the question will be asked... • • • • it must not be too expensive it must be able to do the job it must be reliable it must not be too difficult for people to use The software chosen must be appropriate. These will be used to measure how well the hardware and software perform. • • • • • it must not be too expensive it must do the job without errors occurring it must not be too complex for the users it must be compatible with the hardware is it adaptable if changes happen? The measure of 'success' of a system will be by how well it achieves the criteria.... When a new computer system is analyst computer programmer robot maintenance engineer netw ork manager refuse collector eg Evaluation .

The system can be used at a distance over a network.allows the database to be interrogated. who do you sue? Some patients would feel happier typing medical information into a computer than discussing it with a human doctor. An expert system. The expert system is always available 24 hours a day and will never 'retire'. Well we don't want to do the experts out of jobs! Lacks the 'human touch'! Disadvantages Expert Systems in Medicine.. Sometimes probabilities are assigned to diagnoses. . the drugs used in treatments etc. .. The computer searches its database.has a set of rules (inference engine) for making deductions. . Data can be kept up-to-date. Expert systems are not really replacing doctors but are being used to help them.... The computer does not 'forget' or make mistakes. in Medicine.. • • • • • • • The computer can store far more information than a human. A patient is asked by a doctor about symptoms and the replies are input to the expert system.A medical diagnosis expert system (eg MYCIN) would have information about diseases and their symptoms..but others would prefer the 'human' touch.has a large database of knowledge. There are ethical and legal reasons for this . expert systems are being used for disease diagnosis.if a computerised diagnosis is wrong.. • • • .. The patient's details and symptoms are input. Advantages. recommended treatments or drugs which may be prescribed. The computer does not take the place of the doctor but can be used to help the doctor make decisions. For example. An expert system is a computer system which simulates the knowledge and expertise of a human expert.. and the system outputs probable diagnoses. uses its rules and makes suggestions about the disease and its treatments.

. ..start at the beginning of the file and access each record in turn until the one needed is found.a large database of knowledge can be added to and kept up-to-date .. .. • . The quality of the printout is not good. transmits it down the telephone lines to another fax machine where it is printed out.. Fax is short for facsimile. Printouts are in black and white.. . If files are stored on magnetic tape then serial access is the only method of access... • • • An expert system would be programmed using an AI (Artificial Intelligence) language such as PROLOG.. File Access When records in a file need to be accessed there are two ways of doing it.. A fax machine.. There is no loss of knowledge as there is when a doctor retires.The advantages of an expert system over a doctor are.the computer can access specialist knowledge that a doctor may not survives forever..the system cannot 'forget' or get facts wrong. Fine for documents but not good enough for can store more knowledge than a person.. . Serial Access This means . Fax A fax machine copies a document...

CD. If backups are made of large files then they may be compressed before being saved.. Sometimes the old master file is referred to as the father file and the new master . but are then re-used the following week. All the files used by a business are saved onto tape every night using a tape streamer. If a file becomes unusable. File Generations When a transaction file is used to update a master file. In practice the old master file would be archived in case the update process has to be re-run.. the process creates a new master The old master file can then be deleted.Direct Access The computer can calculate (from the key field) where the record is stored in the file. and can then access the record directly from that position. Direct access can only be used if files are stored on media such as disk.. wait!!... Any changes to the file since the last time the file was backed up will need to be done again. Backups of a company's files can take a long time to do and so are often done at off-peak times eg at night Important files or files that are changed often may need to be frequently backed up. Sometimes a number of backups are made and stored in different places. the backup copy of the file may then be used.there may be problems just around the corner. A different tape is used each night of the week .eg different discs stored in different rooms or buildings.. Direct access is also known as random access File Backup Backing up a file is saving a copy of the file on backing storage (eg disc or tape).. A typical scenario. Direct access of records will generally be much faster than serial access. It is necessary to do this in case the file becomes corrupted or lost.. DVD.

In practice companies will keep several generations of files. The resulting merged file will also be sorted in the same way... Two files can only be merged together if they have the same structure . This is because there may be a problem (eg disk crash) and the update runs may have to be done again to re-create the current master file..the fields are defined the same in each file. 4. A new file is created 2.. The two files must be sorted in the same way.file as the son file. .etc. File Merge To merge two files is to combine them into a single file. Merging files (in words) : 1.. The new merged file contains all the records of both the merged files. A record is read from each of the two files. The record which comes first (in sorting order) is placed on the new file and is replaced by reading a new record from the original file. The process [3] is repeated until both files are empty. When the update is next run. the son file becomes the father file the father file becomes the grandfather file . 3.

have the same data structure be sorted in the same way Files may be saved on media other than magnetic Example : File 1 : ID No Sold today 305 3 309 1 316 2 317 1 File 2: ID No Sold today 301 5 310 1 319 7 The two files to be merged are sorted in order of ID.. • • tape. Merged file : ID No Sold today 301 5 305 3 309 1 310 1 316 2 317 1 319 7 The merged file is also sorted in order of ID.File 1 and File 2 are merged together to create a new merged file which contains all records from File 1 and File 2. . File 2 and the new file will . File 1..

using two or more fields with OR.. Eg (NAME = 'Sm*') will include all names starting with Sm . Eg (NAME = 'Smith') Complex query . Smedling and so on. Eg A business may start to sell a new brand of item. File structure A database consists of a number of related files (sometimes called tables).. Eg A business discontinues the selling of an item. The buttons used for sorting may look like these. Smithers. A record may be removed from a file. Editing data A record in a file may be changed. File Operations The common operations carried out on files are : Sorting Files may be sorted into order of a field. Simple query .Any number of files may be merged together if they are properly sorted and have the same data structure. Eg If the price of an item changes. Searching Queries are used to find records which match certain conditions. Adding new data Deleting data A new record may be added to a file.Using one field.In alphabetical fields * may stand for anything.. the names of the Fields must be given as well as the data to be searched for. If records are sorted it is much easier and quicker to find a record. AND or NOT. The records are arranged in ascending or descending order (numerically or alphabetically). With Queries. .Smith. Egs (NAME='Smith') AND (BALANCE > £100) (PET='Dog') OR (PET = 'Cat') (PET = 'Dog') AND NOT (Type='Spaniel') Wildcard query .

Fields may be of a number of different types : • • • • • • • • • integer real (decimal) string (alphanumeric) date currency picture sound video a calculated field When a database is created it is important that the same data is not stored twice (this may lead to inconsistencies). .A file consists of a number of related records. Example 1 This table shows a small section of a file which contains details about school pupils: Number 91230 91231 91232 91233 91234 91235 Surname Sam Sanders Saunders Sealey Shaw Shaw FirstName Fenella Michael Ian Kelly Lucy Oliver Form B G B R S N The yellow section shows one record. No two records would have the same data in the key field. A field is a single data item consisting of a number of characters. Firstname and Form). The key field is used to uniquely identify a record. The file has 6 records and each record has 4 fields (Number.using the key field of one table as a field in another table. This is usually done by linking the tables with relationships. Surname.. The key field in this example is 'Number'.. A record consists of a number of related fields. File Update A report may use data drawn from a number of different files. Data in a database can be accessed and used to produce reports.

This is generally done in a batch processing system where the transactions are recorded on the transaction file and later used to update the master file. A new master file is created. Example : A master file of stock is kept for a clothes shop. 3. the transaction and master files are stored on magnetic tape and used as input for the update process. The data is updated and the record 4. When the last transaction record has been processed.The data on a transaction file is used to update some of the fields on a master file. How it works (in words) : 1. written onto the new master file. the remaining records on the master file are read and written onto the new master file. For each transaction record. All updated (and unaltered) records are stored on the new master file. The transaction file must be sorted in the same order as the master file. 2. Some of the records are shown in this . the records of the master file are read and written onto the new master file until a matching record is found. How it works (System flowchart) : Here.

table : ID Garment Price No Sold this year 305 Sweater (Red) £25.00 15 315 Shorts (Size 14) £12. the fields may need to be padded out to the right length. Number 91230 91231 91232 Surname Sam Sanders Saunders FirstName Fenella Michael Ian Form B G B .00 12 308 Sweater (Blue) £25. ID No Sold today 305 3 309 1 316 2 317 1 The resulting new master file is shown in the next table : ID Garment Price No Sold this year 305 Sweater (Red) £25.Every record is the same size.99 28 Todays transactions are shown in the transaction file below. Example 1 Each record of this file has 4 fields.00 8 309 Shorts (Size 12) £12...00 8 309 Shorts (Size 12) £12. The master file in practice would have many more fields than this . so it is possible for the computer to calculate exactly where each record starts in the file and therefore it is quicker for the computer to find a particular record. Advantage ..99 34 317 Socks(Black) £1.99 36 317 Socks(Black) £1.00 15 308 Sweater (Blue) £25. Fixed Length Fields A fixed length field is one which contains a set number of characters.99 29 The transaction file must be sorted in the same order as the master file (using the key field) The key field is the ID field.. eg with <space> characters.00 9 316 Socks(Grey) £1.and many more records! The updated data is shown in red.. With fixed length fields. Note that some records will have remained unchanged.00 14 315 Shorts (Size 14) £12. eg If a Surname field is set at 10 characters then the name SIMPSON would need 3 <Space>s added on to the end of it.00 9 316 Socks(Grey) £1.

Floppy disks are portable and can be used for • • transferring data or programs from one microcomputer to another. Usually 3. DO NOT. Access to data is slower than from a hard disk... The data can be protected by opening a small write-protect tab which prevents the contents of the disk being changed. • • • leave floppy disks in heat (eg the sun) or damp open the sliding metal thingy. The first three records of the file take up 78 bytes of storage.. Floppy disks (and hard disks) have to be formatted before they can be used.44Mb of data..91233 91234 91235 Sealey Shaw Shaw Kelly Lucy Oliver R S N The field sizes may be fixed at . backing up data from a hard lets the dust in! touch the brown disk inside . Floppy disks Used for storage on microcomputers.5 inches in diameter. High density floppy disks can store 1. Field Name Field Size Number 5 Surname 10 Firstname 10 Form 1 The first three records of the file would therefore be stored as in the following table (each square represents one byte): 9 1 2 3 0 S a m F e n e l l a B 9 1 2 3 1 S a n d e r s M i c h a e l G 9 1 2 3 2 S a u n d e r s I a n B Each record takes up 26 bytes of storage space..

A mechanical arm holds a pen which can be moved across the page. They are especially useful for architectural drawings. The paper is sometimes laid on a flat bed (flat bed plotter) .. They are slow. Graph plotter Graph plotters are used to produce high quality precision graphics usually on large sheets of paper. where precision drawing is required. but can draw continuous curves often in a variety of colours. This has a hole for the read/write heads which is protected by a sprung metal cover. .The discs are protected by a stiff plastic cover.. building plans and CAD (Computer Aided Design) applications.

light pen.or on a rotating drum (drum plotter).. Photos from a digital camera may also be edited.. . Input may be from a mouse. Graphics A graphics package is used to create images. a graphics tablet or a scanner..

. It can be used to . . Graphics Tablet (Pad) A graphics tablet is a board covered by a touch-sensitive membrane which can detect the position of a pointing device on its surface. • • • • • • • • • • creating and editing of new image choice of brushes choice of colours choice of fills freehand drawing import of images from other sources (including standard shapes) addition of text zoom options textured effects rotation of shapes Once created. Graphics packages would allow..hold a drawing while the user traces it. images can then be used in DTP pages or web pages.Microsoft Paint is an example of a Graphics package.

They are more reliable than floppy disks as they have more protection from dirt. Each drive is built into a sealed unit to prevent contamination by dust and moisture. The read-write head floats so close to the disk that a small speck of dust would ruin the disk. This is why the drives are sealed. Advantages over floppy disks : • • • Access to data is faster than from floppy cannot carry it round and use it on different computers. Exercise : Hard Disks A hard drive is a sealed unit which contains one or more hard disks in a sealed case. A puck is a mouse-like input device for a graphics tablet which is moved over the surface of the tablet. Hard disks One or more hard disks are found in the hard drive which is usually housed inside a computer. Hard discs store more data than floppy disks.hold a sheet of menus. (40 Gb drives are now common). icons and shapes which the user can select A stylus (or pen) is a pointing device for a graphics tablet. . It has crosshairs to position it accurately and a number of buttons for different actions. One disadvantage of a hard disc over floppy disk is that it is not portable ..

• • • • • Word Processing programs. Example : The MS-DOS interface.. Quick to operate and very flexible. Spreadsheet programs. Database programs. Programs use less memory. tapes.The advantages of a hard disk over a floppy disc are Access to data is faster. joystick . it’s hardware!).. mouse.backing storage devices such as disc drive.. HCI (Human Computer Interface) The Human Computer Interface (HCI) is the way the user interacts with the computer.a floppy disk is hardware but a program which is stored on it is software.which does all the processing . but the user needs to learn all the commands and type them in correctly. The main program which runs the computer system is called the Operating System. . (If you can kick it. hard drive . paper etc Software is the programs which run the system.the Central Processing Unit (CPU) .media such as discs. Hardware is the equipment which makes up the computer system. Other programs (called Applications programs) include .output devices such as a printer. graph plotter .input devices such as keyboard.. The three main types are : Command The user types in commands. Type DIR /W to get a list of all the files in a directory.. They can be carried around They have greater storage capacity They are less liable to damage (select only the correct answers) Hardware and Software A computer system consists of hardware and software. Graphics programs etc.. . Computer game Be careful .. Hardware consists of. monitor.

All good Interfaces will have allow users to seek help if they need it.. Pointers) interface. Eg The same buttons are used on a GUI for printing in each application and they appear in the same position on each display. Identical icons may be used in a number of different programs. The user selects an option with either a key or a click of the mouse. There may be sub-menus. This will make it easier for the user to learn to use the program.. fighter pilots. Menus. surgeons. No need to learn the commands but it can be difficult to locate a particular option.. When a new computer application is being designed.. Easy to use intuitive interface. Icons. Useful for. Children need plenty of colour and sound.Menu Drop-down menus have options for selection. but those with low IT skills will need a GUI. Icons (small pictures) represent options. Consistency of design of interfaces is important. Detail of a GUI interface Sound Speech driven interfaces are also now available.. GUI Graphical User Interface Also known as a WIMP (Windows.handicapped. . decisions about which user interface is to be used are often governed by the IT skills of the user. Example : Windows Low-level IT skills needed by the user. The user talks a command into a microphone. Eg a picture of a disk to save a file. Colour and sound may also be used to make the interface more 'userfriendly'. Experts can use a command driven interface.

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