What Is the Information Processing Cycle?

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The information processing cycle refers to the order of events that go into processing information, including input, processing, storage and output. Input consists of acquiring, entering and validating the data, while output consists of interactive queries and the running of reports. Some definitions include a fifth stage, which consists of deleting or archiving data that one does not plan to use.

When it comes to data input, typical devices include mice, keyboards, bar code readers, flatbed scanners, digital tablets, electronic cash registers and joysticks. Some examples include surveying customer opinion cards using a reader, using an interactive online form to collect user information or gathering time sheets.

For processing, the CPU (or the processor) is the most important part of a digital computer that can carry out a program. It takes the instructions from the program and processes the data. CPUs are necessary to any machine that has the capacity for input/output and memory.

Typical output devices include printers and monitors. Monitors use pixels to create images, and printers bond different types of toner to paper, whether laser or ink.

Storage has to do with keeping information on hand for when you need it. The first devices for storage were punched cards, but cloud storage has revolutionized the entire system for managing data.