Data processing is the manipulation of data into a more useful form. It is the modern name for paperwork and involves the collecting, processing, and distributing of facts and figures to achieve a desired result. Data processing includes not only numerical calculations but also operations such as the classification of data and the transmission of data from one place to another. In general, we assume that these operations are performed by some type of machine or computer, although some of them could also be carried out manually. Data processing system refers to the equipment or devices and procedures by which the result is achieved.
Read More: Concept of Data Processing
Data processing may be classified as either scientific or business in nature.
- Business Data processing (BDP) . Business data processing is characterized by the need to establish, retain, and process files of data for producing useful information. Generally, it involves a large volume of input data, limited arithmetical operations, and a relatively large volume of output. For example, a large retail store must maintain a record for each customer who purchases on account, update the balance owned on each account, and a periodically present a bill to the customer for merchandise purchased. This type of record keeping requires reading a customer’s account number, name, address, and previous balance. The bill involves a few basic calculations and the result are printed and mailed to the customer for collection. Tens of thousands of similar bills are commonly handled in the same way.
- Scientific Data Processing (SDP) . In science, data processing involves a limited volume of input and many logical or arithmetic calculations. Unlike business problems, most of the scientific problems are non-repetitive, requiring a “one-time” solution. For example, in cancer research, data on cancer patients (collected over a period of time) are analyzed by a computer to produce a possible cure. Although a final cure is unavailable, computer analysis of the hundreds of man-years of computations. It has also brought us a step closer to the final answer to the cancer horror. Although scientific data may differ from business data, the processing pattern is quite similar.