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information technology
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{{distinguish|Informatics|Digital technology}}{{redirect|IT}}{{redirect|Infotech|the Indian company|Infotech Enterprises}}{{Use dmy dates|date=September 2016}}{{Information science}}Information technology (IT) is the use of computers to store, retrieve, transmit, and manipulate data,{{citation |contribution=IT |title=A Dictionary of Physics |editor-last=Daintith |editor-first=John |publisher=Oxford University Press |year=2009 |url= |access-date=1 August 2012|isbn=9780199233991 }} {{subscription required}} or information, often in the context of a business or other enterprise.WEB,weblink Free on-line dictionary of computing (FOLDOC), 9 February 2013, IT is considered to be a subset of information and communications technology (ICT). An information technology system (IT system) is generally an information system, a communications system or, more specifically speaking, a computer system – including all hardware, software and peripheral equipment – operated by a limited group of users.Humans have been storing, retrieving, manipulating, and communicating information since the Sumerians in Mesopotamia developed writing in about 3000 BC,{{citation |last=Butler |first=Jeremy G. |title=A History of Information Technology and Systems |url= |publisher=University of Arizona |access-date=2 August 2012}} but the term information technology in its modern sense first appeared in a 1958 article published in the Harvard Business Review; authors Harold J. Leavitt and Thomas L. Whisler commented that "the new technology does not yet have a single established name. We shall call it information technology (IT)." Their definition consists of three categories: techniques for processing, the application of statistical and mathematical methods to decision-making, and the simulation of higher-order thinking through computer programs.{{citation |title=Management in the 1980s |url= |last1=Leavitt |first1=Harold J. |last2=Whisler |first2=Thomas L. |journal=Harvard Business Review |year=1958 |volume=11}}The term is commonly used as a synonym for computers and computer networks, but it also encompasses other information distribution technologies such as television and telephones. Several products or services within an economy are associated with information technology, including computer hardware, software, electronics, semiconductors, internet, telecom equipment, and e-commerce.{{citation |last1=Chandler |first1=Daniel |last2=Munday |first2=Rod |contribution=Information technology |title=A Dictionary of Media and Communication |edition=first |publisher=Oxford University Press |url= |quote = Commonly a synonym for computers and computer networks but more broadly designating any technology that is used to generate, store, process, and/or distribute information electronically, including television and telephone. |access-date=1 August 2012 |url-access=subscription |isbn=978-0199568758 |date=2011-02-10 }}{{efn|On the later more broad application of the term IT, Keary comments: "In its original application 'information technology' was appropriate to describe the convergence of technologies with application in the broad field of data storage, retrieval, processing, and dissemination. This useful conceptual term has since been converted to what purports to be concrete use, but without the reinforcement of definition ... the term IT lacks substance when applied to the name of any function, discipline, or position."{{sfnp|Ralston|Hemmendinger|Reilly|2000|p=869|ps=none}}}}Based on the storage and processing technologies employed, it is possible to distinguish four distinct phases of IT development: pre-mechanical (3000 BC â€“ 1450 AD), mechanical (1450–1840), electromechanical (1840–1940), and electronic (1940–present). This article focuses on the most recent period (electronic).

History of computer technology

File:Z3 Deutsches Museum.JPG|thumb|upright=1.35|Zuse Z3 replica on display at Deutsches Museum in Munich. The Zuse Z3 is the first programmable computer.]]Devices have been used to aid computation for thousands of years, probably initially in the form of a tally stick.{{citation |last=Schmandt-Besserat |first=Denise |title=Decipherment of the earliest tablets |journal=Science |year=1981 |volume=211 |issue=4479 |pages=283–85 |doi=10.1126/science.211.4479.283 |pmid=17748027 |bibcode=1981Sci...211..283S }} The Antikythera mechanism, dating from about the beginning of the first century BC, is generally considered to be the earliest known mechanical analog computer, and the earliest known geared mechanism.{{sfnp|Wright|2012|p=279|ps=none}} Comparable geared devices did not emerge in Europe until the 16th century, and it was not until 1645 that the first mechanical calculator capable of performing the four basic arithmetical operations was developed.{{sfnp|Chaudhuri|2004|p=3|ps=none}}Electronic computers, using either relays or valves, began to appear in the early 1940s. The electromechanical Zuse Z3, completed in 1941, was the world's first programmable computer, and by modern standards one of the first machines that could be considered a complete computing machine. Colossus, developed during the Second World War to decrypt German messages, was the first electronic digital computer. Although it was programmable, it was not general-purpose, being designed to perform only a single task. It also lacked the ability to store its program in memory; programming was carried out using plugs and switches to alter the internal wiring.{{sfnp|Lavington|1980|p=11|ps=none}} The first recognisably modern electronic digital stored-program computer was the Manchester Baby, which ran its first program on 21 June 1948.{{citation |last=Enticknap |first=Nicholas |title=Computing's Golden Jubilee |journal=Resurrection |issue=20 |date=Summer 1998 |url= |issn=0958-7403 |access-date=19 April 2008}}The development of transistors in the late 1940s at Bell Laboratories allowed a new generation of computers to be designed with greatly reduced power consumption. The first commercially available stored-program computer, the Ferranti Mark I, contained 4050 valves and had a power consumption of 25 kilowatts. By comparison the first transistorised computer, developed at the University of Manchester and operational by November 1953, consumed only 150 watts in its final version.{{citation |doi=10.1049/esej:19980301 |last=Cooke-Yarborough |first=E. H. |title=Some early transistor applications in the UK |journal= Engineering Science & Education Journal|volume=7 |issue=3 |pages=100–106 |date=June 1998 |issn=0963-7346}}

Electronic data processing

Data storage

File:PaperTapes-5and8Hole.jpg|right|upright=1.35|thumb|Punched tapes were used in early computers to represent data.]]Early electronic computers such as Colossus made use of punched tape, a long strip of paper on which data was represented by a series of holes, a technology now obsolete.{{sfnp|Alavudeen|Venkateshwaran|2010|p=178|ps=none}} Electronic data storage, which is used in modern computers, dates from World War II, when a form of delay line memory was developed to remove the clutter from radar signals, the first practical application of which was the mercury delay line.{{sfnp|Lavington|1998|p=1|ps=none}} The first random-access digital storage device was the Williams tube, based on a standard cathode ray tube,{{citation |title=Early computers at Manchester University |journal=Resurrection |volume=1 |issue=4 |date=Summer 1992 |url= |issn=0958-7403 |accessdate=19 April 2008}} but the information stored in it and delay line memory was volatile in that it had to be continuously refreshed, and thus was lost once power was removed. The earliest form of non-volatile computer storage was the magnetic drum, invented in 1932{{citation |url= |title=Magnetic drum |work=Virtual Exhibitions in Informatics |editor=Universität Klagenfurt |accessdate=21 August 2011}} and used in the Ferranti Mark 1, the world's first commercially available general-purpose electronic computer.{{citation |title=The Manchester Mark 1 |url= |publisher=University of Manchester |accessdate=24 January 2009 |url-status=dead |archiveurl= |archivedate=21 November 2008 |df=dmy-all }}IBM introduced the first hard disk drive in 1956, as a component of their 305 RAMAC computer system.{{citation |last=Khurshudov |first=Andrei |title=The Essential Guide to Computer Data Storage: From Floppy to DVD |year=2001 |publisher=Prentice Hall |isbn=978-0-130-92739-2 |url= }}{{rp|6}} Most digital data today is still stored magnetically on hard disks, or optically on media such as CD-ROMs.{{citation |last1=Wang |first1=Shan X. |last2=Taratorin |first2=Aleksandr Markovich |title=Magnetic Information Storage Technology |year=1999 |publisher=Academic Press |isbn=978-0-12-734570-3}}{{rp|4–5}} Until 2002 most information was stored on analog devices, but that year digital storage capacity exceeded analog for the first time. As of 2007 almost 94% of the data stored worldwide was held digitally:{{citation |last=Wu |first=Suzanne |title=How Much Information Is There in the World? |url=!/article/29360/How-Much-Information-Is-There-in-the-World |work=USC News |publisher=University of Southern California |accessdate=10 September 2013}} 52% on hard disks, 28% on optical devices and 11% on digital magnetic tape. It has been estimated that the worldwide capacity to store information on electronic devices grew from less than 3 exabytes in 1986 to 295 exabytes in 2007,{{citation |last1=Hilbert |first1=Martin |last2=López |first2=Priscila |title=The World's Technological Capacity to Store, Communicate, and Compute Information |date=1 April 2011 |journal=Science |volume=332 |issue=6025 |pages=60–65 |url= |accessdate=10 September 2013 |doi=10.1126/science.1200970 |pmid=21310967|bibcode=2011Sci...332...60H }} doubling roughly every 3 years.WEB,weblink Americas events- Video animation on The World's Technological Capacity to Store, Communicate, and Compute Information from 1986 to 2010, The Economist, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 18 January 2012, dmy-all,


Database Management Systems (DMS) emerged in the 1960s to address the problem of storing and retrieving large amounts of data accurately and quickly. An early such systems was IBM's Information Management System (IMS),{{sfnp|Ward|Dafoulas|2006|p=2|ps=none}} which is still widely deployed more than 50 years later.{{citation |last=Olofson |first=Carl W. |title=A Platform for Enterprise Data Services |date=October 2009 |publisher=IDC |url= |access-date=7 August 2012}} IMS stores data hierarchically,{{sfnp|Ward|Dafoulas|2006|p=2|ps=none}} but in the 1970s Ted Codd proposed an alternative relational storage model based on set theory and predicate logic and the familiar concepts of tables, rows and columns. In 1981, the first commercially available relational database management system (RDBMS) was released by Oracle.{{sfnp|Ward|Dafoulas|2006|p=3|ps=none}}All DMS consist of components, they allow the data they store to be accessed simultaneously by many users while maintaining its integrity.BOOK,weblink Database System Concepts, Silberschatz, Abraham, 2010, McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 978-0-07-741800-7, en, All databases are common in one point that the structure of the data they contain is defined and stored separately from the data itself, in a database schema.{{sfnp|Ward|Dafoulas|2006|p=2|ps=none}}In recent years, the extensible markup language (XML) has become a popular format for data representation. Although XML data can be stored in normal file systems, it is commonly held in relational databases to take advantage of their "robust implementation verified by years of both theoretical and practical effort".{{sfnp|Pardede|2009|p=2|ps=none}} As an evolution of the Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML), XML's text-based structure offers the advantage of being both machine and human-readable.{{sfnp|Pardede|2009|p=4|ps=none}}

Data retrieval

The relational database model introduced a programming-language independent Structured Query Language (SQL), based on relational algebra.The terms "data" and "information" are not synonymous. Anything stored is data, but it only becomes information when it is organized and presented meaningfully.BOOK, Kedar, Seema, Database Management System, 2009, Technical Publications, 9788184316049,weblink en, {{rp|1–9}} Most of the world's digital data is unstructured, and stored in a variety of different physical formats{{sfnp|van der Aalst|2011|p=2|ps=none}}{{efn|name=format|"Format" refers to the physical characteristics of the stored data such as its encoding scheme; "structure" describes the organisation of that data.}} even within a single organization. Data warehouses began to be developed in the 1980s to integrate these disparate stores. They typically contain data extracted from various sources, including external sources such as the Internet, organized in such a way as to facilitate decision support systems (DSS).{{citation |last=Dyché |first=Jill |title=Turning Data Into Information With Data Warehousing |year=2000 |publisher=Addison Wesley |isbn=978-0-201-65780-7 |url= }}{{rp|4–6}}

Data transmission

Data transmission has three aspects: transmission, propagation, and reception.{{sfnp|Weik|2000|p=361|ps=none}} It can be broadly categorized as broadcasting, in which information is transmitted unidirectionally downstream, or telecommunications, with bidirectional upstream and downstream channels.{{r|HilbertLopez2011}}XML has been increasingly employed as a means of data interchange since the early 2000s,{{sfnp|Pardede|2009|p=xiii|ps=none}} particularly for machine-oriented interactions such as those involved in web-oriented protocols such as SOAP,{{sfnp|Pardede|2009|p=4|ps=none}} describing "data-in-transit rather than ... data-at-rest".{{sfnp|Pardede|2009|p=xiii|ps=none}}

Data manipulation

Hilbert and Lopez identify the exponential pace of technological change (a kind of Moore's law): machines' application-specific capacity to compute information per capita roughly doubled every 14 months between 1986 and 2007; the per capita capacity of the world's general-purpose computers doubled every 18 months during the same two decades; the global telecommunication capacity per capita doubled every 34 months; the world's storage capacity per capita required roughly 40 months to double (every 3 years); and per capita broadcast information has doubled every 12.3 years.{{r|HilbertLopez2011}}Massive amounts of data are stored worldwide every day, but unless it can be analysed and presented effectively it essentially resides in what have been called data tombs: "data archives that are seldom visited".{{sfnp|Han|Kamber|Pei|2011|p=5|ps=none}} To address that issue, the field of data mining â€“ "the process of discovering interesting patterns and knowledge from large amounts of data"{{sfnp|Han|Kamber|Pei|2011|p=8|ps=none}} â€“ emerged in the late 1980s.{{sfnp|Han|Kamber|Pei|2011|p=xxiii|ps=none}}


Academic perspective

In an academic context, the Association for Computing Machinery defines IT as "undergraduate degree programs that prepare students to meet the computer technology needs of business, government, healthcare, schools, and other kinds of organizations .... IT specialists assume responsibility for selecting hardware and software products appropriate for an organization, integrating those products with organizational needs and infrastructure, and installing, customizing, and maintaining those applications for the organization’s computer users."The Joint Task Force for Computing Curricula 2005.Computing Curricula 2005: The Overview Report (pdf) {{webarchive|url= |date=21 October 2014 }}

Commercial and employment perspective

Companies in the information technology field are often discussed as a group as the "tech sector" or the "tech industry".NEWS, Technology Sector Snapshot,weblink 12 January 2017, New York Times, WEB, Our programmes, campaigns and partnerships,weblink TechUK, 12 January 2017, WEB, Cyberstates 2016,weblink CompTIA, 12 January 2017, {{citation |last=Zuppo |first=Colrain M. |title=Defining ICT in a Boundaryless World: The Development of a Working Hierarchy |publisher=International Journal of Managing Information Technology (IJMIT) |page=19 |url= |access-date=13 February 2016}}Many companies now have IT departments for managing the computers, networks, and other technical areas of their businesses.In a business context, the Information Technology Association of America has defined information technology as "the study, design, development, application, implementation, support or management of computer-based information systems".{{citation |last=Proctor |first=K. Scott |title=Optimizing and Assessing Information Technology: Improving Business Project Execution |year=2011 |publisher=John Wiley & Sons |isbn=978-1-118-10263-3}}{{page needed|date=September 2017}} The responsibilities of those working in the field include network administration, software development and installation, and the planning and management of an organization's technology life cycle, by which hardware and software are maintained, upgraded and replaced.File:ComputerSystemsEmployment distribution .png|Employment distribution of computer systems design and related services, 2011WEB,weblink Careers in the growing field of information technology services : Beyond the Numbers: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Lauren Csorny, 9 April 2013,, File:EmploymentComputerSystems.png|Employment in the computer systems and design related services industry, in thousands, 1990-2011File:ComputerSystemsOccupationalGrowthWages.png|Occupational growth and wages in computer systems design and related services, 2010-2020File:ProjectedEmploymentChangeComputerSystems.png|Projected percent change in employment in selected occupations in computer systems design and related services, 2010-2020File:ProjectedAverageAnnualEmploymentChangeSelectedIndustries.png|Projected average annual percent change in output and employment in selected industries, 2010-2020

Ethical perspectives

The field of information ethics was established by mathematician Norbert Wiener in the 1940s.{{citation |last=Bynum |first=Terrell Ward |contribution=Norbert Wiener and the Rise of Information Ethics |title=Information Technology and Moral Philosophy |year=2008 |editor1-last=van den Hoven |editor1-first=Jeroen |editor2-last=Weckert |editor2-first=John |publisher=Cambridge University Press |isbn=978-0-521-85549-5}}{{rp|9}} Some of the ethical issues associated with the use of information technology include:{{citation |last=Reynolds |first=George |title=Ethics in Information Technology |year=2009 |publisher=Cengage Learning |isbn=978-0-538-74622-9}}{{rp|20–21}}
  • Breaches of copyright by those downloading files stored without the permission of the copyright holders
  • Employers monitoring their employees' emails and other Internet usage
  • Unsolicited emails
  • Hackers accessing online databases
  • Web sites installing cookies or spyware to monitor a user's online activities

See also







  • {{citation |last1=Alavudeen |first1=A. |last2=Venkateshwaran |first2=N. |title=Computer Integrated Manufacturing |year=2010 |publisher=PHI Learning |isbn=978-81-203-3345-1}}
  • {{citation |last=Chaudhuri |first=P. Pal |title=Computer Organization and Design |year=2004 |publisher=PHI Learning |isbn=978-81-203-1254-8}}
  • {{citation |last1=Han |first1=Jiawei |last2=Kamber |first2=Micheline |last3=Pei |first3=Jian |title=Data Mining: Concepts and Techniques |year=2011 |edition=3rd |publisher=Morgan Kaufmann |isbn=978-0-12-381479-1}}
  • {{citation |last=Lavington |first=Simon |title=Early British Computers |publisher=Manchester University Press |year=1980 |isbn=978-0-7190-0810-8}}
  • {{citation |last=Lavington |first=Simon |title=A History of Manchester Computers |year=1998 |edition=2nd |publisher=The British Computer Society |isbn=978-1-902505-01-5}}
  • {{citation |last=Pardede |first=Eric |title=Open and Novel Issues in XML Database Applications |year=2009 |publisher=Information Science Reference |isbn=978-1-60566-308-1}}
  • {{citation |editor1-last=Ralston |editor1-first=Anthony |editor2-last=Hemmendinger |editor2-first=David |editor3-last=Reilly |editor3-first=Edwin D. |title=Encyclopedia of Computer Science |edition=4th |year=2000 |publisher=Nature Publishing Group |isbn=978-1-56159-248-7}}
  • {{citation |last=van der Aalst |first=Wil M. P. |title=Process Mining: Discovery, Conformance and Enhancement of Business Processes |year=2011 |publisher=Springer |isbn=978-3-642-19344-6}}
  • {{citation |last1=Ward |first1=Patricia |last2=Dafoulas |first2=George S. |title=Database Management Systems |year=2006 |publisher=Cengage Learning EMEA |isbn=978-1-84480-452-8}}
  • {{citation |last=Weik |first=Martin |title=Computer Science and Communications Dictionary |volume=2 |year=2000 |publisher=Springer |isbn=978-0-7923-8425-0}}
  • {{citation |last=Wright |first=Michael T. |contribution=The Front Dial of the Antikythera Mechanism |year=2012 |editor1-last=Koetsier |title=Explorations in the History of Machines and Mechanisms: Proceedings of HMM2012 |editor1-first=Teun |editor2-last=Ceccarelli |editor2-first=Marco |pages=279–292 |publisher=Springer |isbn=978-94-007-4131-7}}

Further reading

  • {{citation |editor1-last=Allen |editor1-first=T. |editor2-last=Morton |editor2-first=M. S. Morton |title=Information Technology and the Corporation of the 1990s |year=1994 |publisher=Oxford University Press|ref=none}}
  • Gitta, Cosmas and South, David (2011). Southern Innovator Magazine Issue 1: Mobile Phones and Information Technology: United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation. ISSN 2222-9280
  • Gleick, James (2011).(The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood). New York: Pantheon Books.
  • {{citation |last=Price |first=Wilson T. |title=Introduction to Computer Data Processing |year=1981 |publisher=Holt-Saunders International Editions |isbn=978-4-8337-0012-2|ref=none}}
  • Shelly, Gary, Cashman, Thomas, Vermaat, Misty, and Walker, Tim. (1999). Discovering Computers 2000: Concepts for a Connected World. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Course Technology.
  • Webster, Frank, and Robins, Kevin. (1986). Information Technology â€“ A Luddite Analysis. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.

External links

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