Application of computers in public services
Banking has undergone sea change. Several factors are responsible for it such as deregulation, competition, internationalisation and interlinking of money,forex and capital market.
Due to enormous increase in clientele,borrowers depositors,banking system is put to considerable strain in managing large volume of data,transactions. Manual handling is prone to errors and handling such mammoth data is almost impossible.
Information technology has enabled banks to meet the challenge. Computerisation has helped to maintain up to date banking data and higher level of efficiency for customers.
The manual system delays cheque collection and clearance which adversely affect short term funds management of banks.Minicomputers based system for clearance settlement is answer to problem. Computerization has introduced MICR technology for cheques and also computerized sorting and listing machines.
Predicting weather has been thought mystique based on country signs and folklore. Meteorology as a science with computer assistance, has become more of an exact science. The problem with meteorology has always been to obtain sufficient data and to analyse that data quickly, so that predictions can be made.Now satellites linked directly with computers provide meteorologist with information, in addition to data obtained from weather stations.
The computer is also able to analyse vast quantities of past measurement to test for weather patterns, and based on these,forecasts can be made.
Many people depend on reliable up to minute weather forecast eg. air,travel,shipping,storm rescue, farmers.
The objective of computerized trade is to provide information eg. Database of exporters and foreign buyers;profiles of market/countries, import requirements and trade stats.
One main objective is to provide uptodate information to exporters on potential buyers of their product. It improves quality and accuracy and thus improves scope of contact.Large databases are developed. Record access is extremely fast.Data can be sorted.The overall cumbersome paper work has been reduced.
Air Travel and Airline Reservation System
Air traffic control depends significantly on computer support.Flying speeds are ever increasing and they require control decisions to be taken more quickly.
This also applies to pilot who has to react not only to instructions relayed to him from traffic control but also to changing situations during flight.Small computers made possible by development of integrated circuits can be installed as part of aeroplane equipment. These computers are programmed to continuously analyse data,which is relayed direct from various instruments and to provide coordinated information to pilot in time for human decision so that in special situations automatic corrective action is immediately taken without need of human intervention.
Computers are also used for seat reservation, crew schedules,time tables,tariffs,cargoes,maintenance schedules,personnel records,accounting, stock control.
Computer controlled seat reservation brings benefit to customers.This is achieved by using communication networks covering whole continents which link booking offices to a large computer system working between continents established by transoceanic cables and satellites. Seats can be reserved by information obtained. Seat is booked in seconds and on booking information system is automatically updated.
Computerized telephone exchanges handle an ever increasing volume of calls.They do so more quickly and without making errors than otherwise and they can be linked to other exchanges.
By satellites call can also be transmitted at faster speeds than conventional networks. The computer helps maintain a log of calls for billing.Computer controlled digital exchanges provide good facility to subscribers.
The computer can be used in hospitals for maintaining inventories of drugs,surgical equipment, payroll,accounting, bed allocation. Information on the patient condition,details of tests and clinical reports may be stored on computers.A combination of this information can be used to provide ward and patient summary reports.In ICUs(Intensive Care Unit) the computer can monitor patient condition. Scanning instruments attached to patient are linked online to system so that nursing staff can be notified of the changes in patient condition.
The computer assist in medical diagnosis, eg.,programs exist which can carry out electrocardiogram analysis. The computer can act as an encyclopedia of medical knowledge,providing doctor with information which he could not carry in his head.With AI in computers ,they are being used as an expert to make diagnosis for diseases.
Law and Order
An office is provided with a terminal link to a vast data bank of legal information containing statutes and accounts of past cases.Data bank is maintained and subscribed lawyers can conduct search for information helpful to their client problems.
Libraries and Museums
Now computers are being increasingly used in library management. List of borrowed books are maintained by system and reminder for overdue books can be generated.University libraries are linked to network so any information which is not in database can be easily located from remote databases.
Museums are using computers to help with cataloguing and indexing.Information of exhibits is assembled and retained as a large database and can be retrieved by staff and visitors. Some museums are linked in a communication network to allow information exchange between different computerized museum databases.
Computer is being used as a resource in teaching and learning. Instructional material can be prepared and stored within computer in program form which are carefully structured to teach specific lessons. This can be used by many students freeing the teacher to spend time.We can go back to previous lessons also.
Multimedia has a profound impact on education by computer as it integrates several type of information such as graphics, animation, photography,music,speech,video. A large number of tutoring packages are being developed in this environment to help students learn without the help of teacher.