What Is a Computer Processing Cycle?

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A computer processing cycle refers to the processes that take place in a computer from the time data is entered into the computer through an input device to the time that results are presented to the end user for consumption. There are four basic steps that make the computer processing cycle.

In the first phase, data is entered into the computer through an input device. The most common input devices are the keyboard and the mouse. Others include scanners and microphones. The second phase of the computer processing cycle is processing. The Central Processing Unit uses the data provided and executes the program instructions to provide the desired output. During processing, the CPU may perform arithmetic or logical operations on the data.

After processing the data, it may be temporarily stored before being output to an output device. Some of the storage devices include Random Access Memory and hard disk. RAM stores data temporarily, while the hard disk stores the data permanently. Other common storage devices include ROM, CD/DVD and the portable flash drives.

The final phase is output. In this phase, the processed information is displayed to the user through an output device. The most common output device is the monitor. Other output devices, including printers and speakers, are also used.