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

1. Accuracy. Once data have been correctly entered into the computer component of a data processing system, the need for further manipulation by humans is eliminated, and the possibility of error is reduced. Computers, when properly programmed, aren't able 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 transmitted wherever needed by communications networks. These may be either earth or satellite-based systems. A travel reservations 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 corporate data base, from their personal microcomputer work stations.

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 constantly increasing. All the while, the cost per character of data stored is decreasing.

4. Speed. The speed, at which computer data processing systems can respond, adds to their value. For example, the travel reservations system mentioned above is not useful if clients have 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.

Answer the following questions:

1. What capabilities should data-processing systems combine when designed? 2. What are the main advantages of computers? 3. What do you know of computers accuracy? 4. What is the function of communication networks? 5. Give examples of a data communication network. 6. What do you understand by capacity storage? 7. What other values of computer data processing systems do you know? 8. What is an important objective in the design of computer data processing systems? 9. What is the most effective computer data processing system? 10. What is the best way of responding to the challenges and opportunities of our post-industrial society?

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