MEANING, STEPS AND TYPES Of DATA PROCESSING

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The word "data processing" is made up of two words: "data" and "processing".

Data are facts, concepts, numbers, text that can be processed by a computer. It is a representation of facts or ideas that is capable of being processed or manipulated.

The definition of data won't be complete without Information. Information is organized or classified data that has some meaningful values for the receiver.

According to Wiktionary, "processing is the act of retrieving, storing, classifying, manipulating, transmitting data, especially via computer techniques".

Putting both definitions together, we can define "data processing as the techniques by which data is retrieved, classified, manipulated, transmitted, and/or stored to generate information.

The definition given above looks somewhat tacit. A simpler definition is that "data processing is the manipulation of collected data into meaningful information. 

Data processing consist of the following cycle:

1. Input: This is concerned with getting the data into the computer. These data are prepared in some suitable form of processing by Input devices.

2. Processing: Here, the computer processes the instructions using the data which has just been inputted, and the inputted data is changed into meaningful information.

3. Output: At this stage, the data processed is given out as information that is useful to the owner. What the computer gives out at this stage is as good as the input given. This is what computer scientists called Garbage in, Garbage out.

Types of Data processing

There are five major types of data processing, namely; batch processing, Online processing, real-time processing, time processing, and distributed processing.

Batch processing

This is one of the most popular forms of data processing. Batch processing is a method of data processing where information to be processed is sorted into groups to enable efficient and sequential processing.

In batch processing, data are gathered, processed, and store in batches. This allows the data to be processed efficiently. Batch processing is also called serial processing, sequential processing.

Batch processing can complete a queue of tasks without human intervention. It is especially useful in financial applications.

Advantages of Batch processing

1. Jobs can be scheduled for a time when the computer is idle, thereby increasing efficiency.

2. Batch processing can be done without human intervention.

3. Processing cost is reduced as the large volume of data is processed.

Disadvantages of Batch processing

1. Since jobs are stored in batches, there will always be a delay in the processing of data.

2. Another drawback of batch processing is that it is relatively expensive.

Online processing

In this method of processing, an input device is connected to the computer which allows data to be entered into the system. 

This method allows data to be entered and executed directly. Expectedly, this method uses internet connections and equipment directly linked to the computer.

As is evidence in its name, online processing is widely used for online applications. ATM, POS are examples of online processing.

Real-time processing

In this method of processing, data fed into the software is processed instantaneously, thereby making the information current and readily accessible.

It is a sort of online processing done with one or more computers. The data processed in real-time processing are usually stored/used online.

This method allows the user to have direct contact with the computer. Plus, it can respond to signal and process data immediately.

Real-time processing is used when the results are required immediately or in the shortest time possible. 

The airline reservation systems, anti-missile defense systems are examples of real-time processing.

Advantages of Real-time processing

1. Since data are processed immediately, Information is always up-to-date.

2., Unlike batch processing, data are processed immediately.

3. Hardware and software capabilities are better than batch processing.

Disadvantages of Real-time processing

1. Data may not be processed if the system goes offline.

2. This data processing is costly when compared to batch processing.

Time-sharing processing

This is another form of online data processing. It allows several users to share the resources of an online computer system. 

As the name suggests, each user is given a slice of CPU time in which they used to work on the same processing units.

One advantage of time-sharing processing is that many users are served simultaneously.

Distributed processing

This is a sort of specialized data processing method in which many computers (which are located remotely) are connected to a single host computer. 

All the computer systems are interconnected with a high-speed communication network. This ensures there is quick communication between various computers. 

It is, however, important to note that the central or host system maintains the master database.

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