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This paper provides information on data and its importance in the speed of a computer and how it is stored. This paper gives examples of the different input as well as output forms for data. This paper also details the way that data effects memory in a computer as well as the different types of memory and data storage that a computer may have.
Data and its Importance in Accurate and Quick Processing
Data plays an important role for computers and how well they perform. The accuracy of data entry is very important in that if bad data or too much data is stored on a computer that the processing of that data is flawed and can significantly slow the computer's processing down. The storage of data is available in different mediums and how one stores ones data is of vast importance as well.
There are several ways that data can be input into the computer one of which is called Optical Data Reader. The Optical Data Reader can be used to input the information off of printed questionnaires. There are two categories of optical data readers; the Optical Mark Recognition (OMR) and the Optical Character Recognition (OCR). Optical Mark Recognition is used when pencils are used to fill in boxes on Optical Mark Recognition paper or a mark sense forms such as is used in standardized tests like the SAT and the GMAT. Voice Recognition Devices are used to recognize human speech and are commonly used for telephone surveys, security systems that allow only authorized personnel and are now available in cars and trucks allowing the driver to activate the radio and CD players. Voice Recognition Devices will also respond to certain commands in an audible voice. Special software and microphones are used to record the sound of the human voice and convert it into digital signals. Another data entry method is used by financial institutions with the use of the Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR) device. Banks use them to process checks, loan applications and bank statements in order to reduce the time it took to manually read these types of documents and data more quickly. Bar code scanners are another form of data input used mostly by retailers. A laser scans the bar code label and transfers the data for easy and fast processing.
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Now that data input and its importance has been explored, take a look at the importance of the convenience and quality of data output. For a hand held computer a small, hand held sized monitor is needed that balances with the size of the hand held computer. Any color monitor or printer will do when viewing or printing color photographs, resumes, memorandums, statistical reports or company annual reports.
The difference between primary storage and secondary storage is that primary storage, also called internal memory, is memory that the computer uses. Primary storage is accessible to the central processing unit of the computer without any type of input or output channel. Active data is stored in the primary storage and it is very fast. An example of that would be RAM or Random Access Memory. RAM loses its information when there is a power loss and it can be expensive. Other examples of primary storage would be cache memory or special registers. ROM or Read Only Memory is memory that is not lost if there is a power loss but it is also not good for storage of large data quantities because it is so expensive. Secondary storage or external memory is used for long-term storage. Some examples of secondary storage would be hard disks and online storage.
Different types of storage are available for different types of usage. Hard disk storage is used for direct access to data that is stored by moving directly to the location of the requested data, reducing the access time significantly. Floppy disks are more commonly used to distribute software, backup data and even transfer data between computers. They were even once used to store a computer's operating system. RAM or Radom Access Memory is again, temporary memory that is lost when the power to the computer is turned off. CD ROMs or Compact Discs with Read Only Memory stores data that can not be modified or rewritten and are normally only used for data that will be used for permanent use. However, CD-RW disks allow the data to be written on and edited and are very popular for writing music to CDs. CD-RW drives are used for Expandable storage devices and can be internal or external. This type of expandable storage devices is perfect for backup of any critical data on ones hard drive. Magnetic tape is a common type of secondary storage medium that is similar to audio and video cassettes. Access to the tape is more slowly but, it is less expensive than disk storage and is often used to store data offsite for emergency retrieval in case of disaster.
The speed of a computer is determined by several factors. The amount of RAM or Radom Access Memory that is available can determine how fast ones computer responds to ones commands. RAM chips have millions of switches that are sensitive to changes in electric current and rapidly provide data and instructions to the CPU or Central Processing Unit. Another factor that can determine the speed of a computer is its clock speed. A series of electronic pulses at a predetermined rate or the clock's speed executes instructions in accordance with the pulses of the clock. The shorter the time between the pulses, the more rapidly the instruction can be executed. Too much data on a hard disk will slow down a computer because the system has to wait for the information to be written and read from the hard drive. Adding more memory can fix this problem as well as saving ones data on CD ROMs and Floppy Disks.
Data storage is more important than ever in that it is the major component in determining how fast ones computer processes information and knowing the important role that data plays in the operation of ones computer is crucial to its performance.
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