A systematic sequence of operations performed on data, especially by a computer, in order to calculate new information or revise or update existing information stored on magnetic or optical disk, magnetic tape, and so on. The data may be in the form of numerical values representing measurements, scientific or technical facts, or lists of names, places, or book titles.
The main processing operations performed by a computer are arithmetical addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, and logical operations that involve decision-making based on comparison of data. For the latter, an instruction might read: "If condition a holds, then follow programmed instruction P; if a does not hold, then follow instruction Q".
Related category COMPUTERS, ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE, AND CYBERBETICS
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