Computer-oriented data processing systems or just computer data processing systems are not designed to imitate manual sys­tems. They should combine the capabilities of both humans and

Английский язык. Основы компьютерной грамотности 50

computers. Computer data processing systems can be designed to take advantage of four capabilities of. computers.

1. Accuracy. Once data have been entered correctly into the
computer component of a data processing system, the need for
further manipulation by humans is eliminated, and the possi­
bility of error is reduced. Computers, when properly pro­
grammed, are also unlikely to make computational errors. Of
course, computer systems remain vulnerable to the entry by
humans of invalid data.

2. Ease of communications. Data, once entered, can be trans­
mitted wherever needed by communications networks. These
may be either earth or satellite-based systems. A travel reserva­
tions system is an example of a data communications network.
Reservation clerks throughout the world may make an enquiry
about transportation or lodgings and receive an almost instant
response. Another example is an office communications system
that provides executives with access to a reservoir of date, called
a corporate data base, from their personal microcomputer work


3. Capacity of storage. Computers are able to store vast
amounts of information, to organize it, and to retrieve it in ways
that are far beyond the capabilities of humans. The amount of
data that can be stored on devices such as magnetic discs is con­
stantly increasing. All the while, the cost per character of data
stored is decreasing.

4. Speed. The speed, at which computer data processing sys­
tems can respond, adds to their value. For example, the travel
reservations system mentioned above would not be useful if cli­
ents had to wait more than a few seconds for a response. The
response required might be a fraction of a second.

Thus, an important objective in the design of computer data processing systems is to allow computers to do what they do best and to free humans from routine, error-prone tasks. The most cost-effective computer data processing system is the one that does the job effectively and at the least cost. By using comput­ers in a cost-effective manner, we will be better able to respond to the challenges and opportunities of our post-industrial, in­formation-dependent society.

51 Unit 4. Data Processing Concepts

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