History of Database Systems
Information processing drives the growth of computers, as it has from the earliest
days of commercial computers. In fact, automation of data processing tasks
predates computers. Punched cards, invented by Herman Hollerith, were used
at the very beginning of the twentieth century to record U.S. census data, and
mechanical systemswere used to process the cards and tabulate results. Punched
cards were later widely used as a means of entering data into computers.
Techniques for data storage and processing have evolved over the years:
• 1950s and early 1960s:
Magnetic tapes were developed for data storage. Data
processing tasks such as payroll were automated, with data stored on tapes.
Processing of data consisted of reading data from one or more tapes and
writing data to a new tape. Data could also be input from punched card
decks, and output to printers. For example, salary raises were processed by
entering the raises on punched cards and reading the punched card deck in
synchronization with a tape containing themaster salary details. The records
had to be in the same sorted order. The salary raises would be added to the
salary read from the master tape, and written to a new tape; the new tape
would become the new master tape.
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