Data processing is, generally, "the collection and manipulation of items of data to produce meaningful information."In this sense it can be considered a subset of information processing , "the change (processing) of information in any manner detectable by an observer."
The term Data Processing (DP) has also been used to refer to a department within an organization responsible for the operation of data processing applications.
Data processing may involve various processes, including:
The United States Census Bureau history illustrates the evolution of data processing from manual through electronic procedures.
Although widespread use of the term data processing dates only from the nineteen-fifties,data processing functions have been performed manually for millennia. For example, bookkeeping involves functions such as posting transactions and producing reports like the balance sheet and the cash flow statement. Completely manual methods were augmented by the application of mechanical or electronic calculators. A person whose job was to perform calculations manually or using a calculator was called a "computer."
The 1890 United States Census schedule was the first to gather data by individual rather than household. A number of questions could be answered by making a check in the appropriate box on the form. From 1850 through 1880 the Census Bureau employed "a system of tallying, which, by reason of the increasing number of combinations of classifications required, became increasingly complex. Only a limited number of combinations could be recorded in one tally, so it was necessary to handle the schedules 5 or 6 times, for as many independent tallies.""It took over 7 years to publish the results of the 1880 census" using manual processing methods.
The term automatic data processing was applied to operations performed by means of unit record equipment, such as Herman Hollerith's application of punched card equipment for the 1890 United States Census. "Using Hollerith's punchcard equipment, the Census Office was able to complete tabulating most of the 1890 census data in 2 to 3 years, compared with 7 to 8 years for the 1880 census.... It is estimated that using Hollerith's system saved some $5 million in processing costs"in 1890 dollars even though there were twice as many questions as in 1880.
Computerized data processing, or Electronic data processing represents a later development, with a computer used instead of several independent pieces of equipment. The Census Bureau first made limited use of electronic computers for the 1950 United States Census, using a UNIVAC I system,delivered in 1952..
The term data processing has mostly been subsumed by the more general term information technology (IT).The older term "data processing" is suggestive of older technologies. For example, in 1996 the Data Processing Management Association (DPMA) changed its name to the Association of Information Technology Professionals. Nevertheless, the terms are approximately synonymous.
Commercial data processing involves a large volume of input data, relatively few computational operations, and a large volume of output. For example, an insurance company needs to keep records on tens or hundreds of thousands of policies, print and mail bills, and receive and post payments.
In science and engineering, the terms data processing and information systems are considered too broad, and the term data processing is typically used for the initial stage followed by a data analysis in the second stage of the overall data handling.
Data analysis uses specialized algorithms and statistical calculations that are less often observed in a typical general business environment. For data analysis, software suites like SPSS or SAS, or their free counterparts such as DAP, gretl or PSPP are often used.
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The history of computing hardware covers the developments from early simple devices to aid calculation to modern day computers. Before the 20th century, most calculations were done by humans. Early mechanical tools to help humans with digital calculations, like the abacus, were referred to as calculating machines or calculators. The machine operator was called the computer.
Herman Hollerith was an American businessman, inventor, and statistician who developed an electromechanical tabulating machine for punched cards to assist in summarizing information and, later, in accounting. His invention of the punched card tabulating machine, patented in 1884, marks the beginning of the era of semiautomatic data processing systems, and his concept dominated that landscape for nearly a century.
A punched card or punch card is a piece of stiff paper that can be used to contain digital data represented by the presence or absence of holes in predefined positions. Digital data can be used for data processing applications or used to directly control automated machinery.
Electronic data processing (EDP) can refer to the use of automated methods to process commercial data. Typically, this uses relatively simple, repetitive activities to process large volumes of similar information. For example: stock updates applied to an inventory, banking transactions applied to account and customer master files, booking and ticketing transactions to an airline's reservation system, billing for utility services. The modifier "electronic" or "automatic" was used with "database processing" (DP), especially c. 1960, to distinguish human clerical data processing from that done by computer.
The Powers Accounting Machine was an information processing device developed in the early 20th century for the U.S. Census Bureau. It was then produced and marketed by the Powers Accounting Machine Company, an information technology company founded by the machine's developer. The company thrived in the early 20th century as a producer of tabulating machines. It was a predecessor to the current Unisys corporation.
Starting at the end of the nineteenth century, well before the advent of electronic computers, data processing was performed using electromechanical machines called unit record equipment, electric accounting machines (EAM) or tabulating machines. Unit record machines came to be as ubiquitous in industry and government in the first two-thirds of the twentieth century as computers became in the last third. They allowed large volume, sophisticated data-processing tasks to be accomplished before electronic computers were invented and while they were still in their infancy. This data processing was accomplished by processing punched cards through various unit record machines in a carefully choreographed progression. This progression, or flow, from machine to machine was often planned and documented with detailed flowcharts that used standardized symbols for documents and the various machine functions. All but the earliest machines had high-speed mechanical feeders to process cards at rates from around 100 to 2,000 per minute, sensing punched holes with mechanical, electrical, or, later, optical sensors. The operation of many machines was directed by the use of a removable plugboard, control panel, or connection box. Initially all machines were manual or electromechanical. The first use of an electronic component was in 1937 when a photocell was used in a Social Security bill-feed machine. Electronic components were used on other machines beginning in the late 1940s.
A keypunch is a device for precisely punching holes into stiff paper cards at specific locations as determined by keys struck by a human operator. Other devices included here for that same function include the gang punch, the pantograph punch, and the stamp.
Dehomag was a German subsidiary of IBM with monopoly in the German market before and during World War II. The word was an acronym for Deutsche Hollerith-Maschinen Gesellschaft mbH. Hollerith refers to the German-American inventor of the technology of punched cards, Herman Hollerith. In April 1949 the company name was changed to IBM Deutschland.
The tabulating machine was an electromechanical machine designed to assist in summarizing information stored on punched cards. Invented by Herman Hollerith, the machine was developed to help process data for the 1890 U.S. Census. Later models were widely used for business applications such as accounting and inventory control. It spawned a class of machines, known as unit record equipment, and the data processing industry.
A data entry clerk is a member of staff employed to enter or update data into a computer system. Data is often entered into a computer from paper documents using a keyboard. The keyboards used can often have special keys and multiple colors to help in the task and speed up the work. Proper ergonomics at the workstation is a common topic considered.
The APE(X)C, or All Purpose Electronic (X) Computer series was designed by Andrew Donald Booth at Birkbeck College, London in the early 1950s. His work on the APE(X)C series was sponsored by the British Rayon Research Association. Although the naming conventions are slightly unclear, it seems the first model belonged to the BRRA. According to Booth, the X stood for X-company.
The British Tabulating Machine Company (BTM) was a firm which manufactured and sold Hollerith unit record equipment and other data-processing equipment. During World War II, BTM constructed a number of "bombes", machines used at Bletchley Park to break the German Enigma machine ciphers.
The United States Census of 1890 was taken beginning June 2, 1890. It determined the resident population of the United States to be 62,979,766—an increase of 25.5 percent over the 50,189,209 persons enumerated during the 1880 census. The data was tabulated by machine for the first time. The data reported that the distribution of the population had resulted in the disappearance of the American frontier. Most of the 1890 census materials were destroyed in a 1921 fire and fragments of the US census population schedule exist only for the states of Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, South Dakota, and Texas, and the District of Columbia.
A computer operator is a role in IT which oversees the running of computer systems, ensuring that the machines, and computers are running properly. The job of a computer operator as defined by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics is to "monitor and control ... and respond to ... enter commands ... set controls on computer and peripheral devices. This Excludes Data Entry."
The IBM 101 Electronic Statistical Machine, introduced in 1952, combines in one unit the functions of sorting, counting, accumulating, balancing, editing, and printing of summaries of facts recorded in IBM cards.
The Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company (CTR) was a holding company of manufacturers of record-keeping and measuring systems subsequently known as IBM.
International Business Machines (IBM), nicknamed "Big Blue", is a multinational computer technology and IT consulting corporation headquartered in Armonk, New York, United States. IBM originated from the bringing together of several companies that worked to automate routine business transactions, including the first companies to build punched card based data tabulating machines and to build time clocks. In 1911, these companies were amalgamated into the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company (CTR).
Paper data storage refers to the use of paper as a data storage device. This includes writing, illustrating, and the use of data that can be interpreted by a machine or is the result of the functioning of a machine. A defining feature of paper data storage is the ability of humans to produce it with only simple tools and interpret it visually.
The 14th Weather Squadron is a Geographically Separate Unit (GSU) of the 2nd Weather Group. The squadron is located in the Veach-Baley Federal Complex in Asheville, North Carolina. Its mission is military applied climatology. The 14 WS collects, protects and exploits authoritative climate data to optimize military and intelligence operations and planning in order to maximize the combat effectiveness of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) personnel and weapons systems. It delivers environmental information worldwide to the United States Air Force (USAF), the Army, Unified Combatant Commands, the Intelligence Community, and the Department of Defense. The 14 WS also collaborates with the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI).
James Legrand Powers was a US inventor and entrepreneur, the founder of Powers Accounting Machine Company.