Major Application Areas of Computer

The aim of this article is to focus attention on the major application areas of computer. Computer applications can be divided into three broad areas. All of this application areas of computer are described below:

Application areas of computer

  1. Office automation
  2. Management applications
  3. Scientific, engineering and research applications.

1. Office automation

This application areas of computer are used worldwide and more famous then other two. These applications include the use of computers for clerical activates in public and private organizations.

Office automation involves the use of computers, in conjunction with other electronic equipment, to automate the basic secretarial and clerical tasks of the office.

The routine nature of office procedure suitable for automation. Reduced equipment costs now make it cost effective. Word processing is the basic job in an office.

Some office automation systems go far beyond the function of word processing on networks. PCs or workstations are connected to a network which provides access to a wide variety functions including:

  • Word processing
  • Spreadsheet analysis
  • Drawing diagrams
  • Database applications
  • Electronic mail facilities
  • Access to other networks for information exchange
  • Electronic commerce.

There may be a number of file servers and print servers connected to network. Popular example is a client-server arrangement.

In most client-server arrangements an application program (the client) runs on another computer. The server machines are usually more powerful and are popularly dedicated to provide access to:

  • A printer
  • Electronic Mail
  • Database
  • Other system.

2. Management applications

Management application is one of the most important application areas of computer. A commercial organization often needs information on which to base decisions concerning the current operations and future plans.

This information should be timely and accurate. Examples of the use of computers for management and control are given below.

Stock control: A computer can process data quickly and thereby make available information on stock levels. A computer can be used to link widely separated warehouses, thus treating them as one vast stock control system.

Customer orders can be served form an alternative warehouse if an item is not available in the local one. Thus the computer enables stock holdings to be kept to a minimum and thereby reduces cash requirement for business.

Production control: It is an extremely complex area especially in factory automation. Production should respond quickly to changes in demand and other circumstances. This requires accurate up-to-date information which should also be timely.

On-line systems help to get data quickly enough to influence current events. An computer can make machine loading, materials control, machine utilization etc. A computer is more efficient because of its ability to make complex calculations and shift data quickly and accurately.

Application areas of computer

Application areas of computer

Labour control: Some of the information used in the control of labor can be obtained from the payroll and personnel records. An analysis of labor hours for idle time, sickness and absence, can aid forecasting future requirements.

Results of analysis help to highlight these problems accurately and actual performance can be measured quickly against planned performance. Reports for the shop-floor manager aid control of routine operations and can help better utilization of manpower.

Network analysis: Network analysis is used for planning and control of complex projects. Examples are the building of a factory, the installation of new plant and the manufacture of an aircraft or ship.

A model is used to show each stage in the project and its dependence on other stages. When the necessary data have been supplied, the program produces a plan for the management.

The plan can be quickly modified by the program in the light of actual progress, and revised plans produced at a short notice. The program also indicates the interdependent activities that take longest time to complete and could hold up the project.

Linear programming: This is used to find the optimum solution which maximizes profits or minimizes costs. A considerable amount of data are supplied to construct a computer model.

The computer has the storage, capacity and the speed to calculate and execute every feasible solution and thus to find the best one.

Financial modeling: this is used to find the optimum solution which maximizes profits or minimizes costs. A considerable amount of data are supplied to construct a computer model.

The computer has the storage, capacity and the speed to calculate and execute every feasible solution and thus to find the  best one.

Financial Modeling: A model can be constructed for a company’s finance comprising of its resources, income and expenditure. This can be used to simulate the effects of different policies.

It is possible by a series of computer runs, with variations of the basic assumptions to obtain a forecast of the likely effects of alternative policies. the usefulness of he computer lies in its high speed, which enables it to execute instructions quickly.

3. Scientific, Engineering and Research Applications

This types of application areas of computer include the use of computer for complex mathematical calculations, analysis of data of various nature, design, analysis and control of physical systems etc.

Here the main emphasis of data processing is research and development for scientific, engineering and industrial applications. Few areas are described below.

Application areas of computer

Application areas of computer

Weather-Forecasting: Weather-forecasting demands vast computational powers. This is an area which requires the super-computers.

Mathematical and statistical analysis: These analyses require large calculations and solutions of mathematical and statistical problems. The applications include research in physics, chemistry, geology, archaeology, medicine, astronomy, social science etc. some commercial problems have mathematical bias, and require mathematical analysis to determine the optimum use of resources.

Design work: Computers can be used as a design tool in engineering and other disciples. CAD (Computer Aided Design) is used in electronic, electrical, mechanical, aeronautical, and civil engineering, architecture and many other disciplines.

Medical applications: computer can be used as an aid to medical research by analyzing data. The computer acts as a large bank of data about known medical conditions.

Once a computer system has been set up by medical experts an ordinary doctor can be taken through a question and answer session by the computer until a correct diagnosis is made

Computer can be used to hold details of patient data. Microcomputer system are now used for this purpose in increasing number computerized health records can be used by medical officers health visitors and researchers.

Education: Computers are used extensively as a part of study in computer science itself. They are used as a way of aiding the understanding of a wide variety of other subjects.  The computer can provide instructions and ask question.

This kind of activity is called computer aided learning or computer aided instructions computers are also used for a number of other application in education, example are marking of multiple choice examination papers and processing examination results.

Manufacturing: Some examples of use of computer in manufacturing are stock and production control engineering design etc. the industrial design manufacturing and testing processes are becoming increasingly computerized.

The terms CAD CAM (computer aided manufacture) and CADMAT (computer aided design manufacture and testing) are familiar words in industries now.

Robots: The word robot comes from a Czech word whose meaning is to labour for many years the term robot was associated with science fiction rather than science fact.  That association has changed now.

The basic difference between industrial robots and other automated machines is that a robot can be programmed to carry out a complex task and be reprogrammed to carry out another complex task. A complex task is a series of actions involving mechanical manipulations.

Other application areas of computer

Computers are used for a variety of application and there are some applications that do not fall into either of the application mentioned above. Some of these applications are discussed below.

Expert system

An expert system is a program package that can perform the function of a human expert. Some of the initial expert system were used for medical diagnosis.

A medical consultant assisted by staff takes part in a lengthy exercise in which both the knowledge and the decision making procedures are transferred to the computer.

As a result the computer can ask question and draw conclusion from the answers and a junior doctor aided by the computer could be as expert as a consultant.

There are many application for expert system example are company law investment, finance and personnel management etc. expert systems normally have the following features:

  • An organized base of knowledge in the form of a database.
  • A user interface to support diagnostic discussions with the user.
  • A facility to hold details of the consultation.
  • An inference engine that is a software which can use the knowledge base and current consultations to formulate further questions or draw conclusions from actions. A knowledge acquisition system, to update the knowledge base.

Although the basic components of an expert system are bound to vary from one discipline to another the basic structure is the same.

The user of the expert system sits before a PC or and takes part in a question and answer session in which data about the problem are typed in at various stages during the session or at the end the system make an assessment of the problem and recommends actions.

Expert system package are not confined to large computers several are available now for personal computers.

Intelligent Knowledge-Based System (IKBS)

These are intended to provided an expert consultative service to management and are also called expert systems. A typical system is an interactive one and contains a large database. The system is programmed with a decision-making strategy developed by careful consultation with experts in the file.

The user takes part in a question and answer session in which data about the problem are supplied through the keyboard. At the end of the session the system makes an assessment of the problem and suggest actions.

Application Packages

Use of an application package is an alternative to developing programs. Many small organizations cannot afford to employ a programmer, and individual users may not be capable of writing programs. As an alternative, many firms and individuals purchase programs.

An application package generally include a full description of the operation of the program, user instructions and documents. There are many large organizations which find it more economic to purchase application packages rather than writing their own applications. Some advantages connected with the use of application packages are:

  • No need to employ a programmer for program development
  • The program is ready immediately
  • The developer of the application package employs skilled programmers
  • It is possible to get help or share experience with other users of the package.

There are, however, some disadvantages in the use of application packages as compared with program development. the most important are:

  • The programs may be too general and not readily matched to the needs to the user.
  • It may be difficult to adapt the program to the changing needs and growth of the user’s application.

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