What Is Information Processing Cycle?


To understand how a computer works you must understand the information processing cycle. No doubt you must be aware that before a computer produces information it needs data. But how does the data become information? Well that is what this page is about so read on.

In this post you’ll learn about:

  • What a computer information processing cycle is
  • The stages involve in the information processing cycle
  •  At what point a computer device is useful in the information processing cycle

READ ALSO : Introduction To Information Systems – The Five(5) Major Components Of  Information Systems


Information Processing Cycle

This is a cycle that outlines the steps involved in converting raw facts which is data into information. It describes a sequence of events consisting of input, processing, storage & output. A computer is the machine that performs the cycle.

The Stages Of Information Processing Cycle

The Information Processing Cycle                                                      The Information Processing Cycle


Input Stage – Entering data into the computer

In order for a computer to perform useful work, the computer has to receive instructions and data. The computer receives data and instructions during the INPUT stage of the information processing cycle. Feeding the computer with the collected raw data can be done by means of various devices such as keyboards, mice, scanners, barcode readers, joysticks, digital data tablets (for graphic drawing), touch pad, etc.

Processing Stage – Performing operations on the data

Useful information results when appropriate instructions are applied to data. Applying instructions to data takes place during the PROCESSING stage of the information processing cycle. Once the input is provided the raw data is processed by a suitable or selected processing method (e.g. formatting, restructuring, organizing, calculations, manipulations, etc.). This is the most important step as it provides the processed data in the form of output which will be used further. Processing is usually done by the CPU (Central Processing unit) in the computer.

Output Stage – Results obtained i.e. information

This stage is where information or the results of processing is presented to the user. Here, the raw data provided in the first stage is now “processed” and the data is useful and provides information and no longer called data. Information can be presented through display, print, sounds, etc. by using output devices like the monitor, printer,speaker, projector, etc.

Storage Stage – Saving data in soft/physical form

In order to avoid having to re-enter data and instructions or reprocess information, computers can save information. Saving information on a computer occurs during the STORAGE phase of the information processing cycle. Storage can be done on external hard disk, inbuilt hard disk, flash drive (pendrive), micro SD cards, compact discs or even in registers.

Sometimes there is the mention of a fifth Stage of the processing cycle known as the DISTRIBUTION STAGE where information is disseminated to users who need them. Communication devices are used for the dissemination of information and these include the fax machine, radio, television, mobile phone, computer, etc.


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