(1) Processing data/information, which includes text, graphics, audio and video. The term may refer generically to the IT industry, or it may refer specifically to applications doing business processing (update this order, sum this amount, etc.) or applications doing multimedia processing (encode these frames, decode this file, etc.).|
With reference to a user's machine, the term generally includes the rendering of the graphical user interface, which takes up most of the computer's resources. However, it may refer to only the business data processing cycles in contrast to the user interface. With reference to a server, data processing refers to all the processing in the machine, as there is no graphical user interface.
(2) The first name used for the information technology industry. From the early 1900s to the 1960s, it meant feeding punch cards into tabulating machines. See information processing cycle. See also preprocessing.