What is Electronic Data Processing?

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  • Written By: Mary Elizabeth
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 08 October 2019
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Data is information and can include anything from alphanumeric characters to dates, equations, and multimedia. Data processing is one of the steps in the information processing cycle and comes after data is acquired, entered, and validated. This was originally done by individuals and incrementally, using punched tapes or tabulating cards or other methods. Electronic data processing (EDP), also called automatic data processing (ADP) or information processing, is the automated use of computer technology for the purpose of processing data, whether in classifying, recording, summarizing, or manipulating it.

Originally, this term used to cover the entire field of computers and their activities. The first scientific computer that IBM made available commercially wasn’t called a computer: it was named the IBM 701 Electronic Data Processing Machines — machines was plural because the system was composed of 11 interconnected units; it was later known as the 701 Data Processing System. Additionally, Electronic Data Processing was the original name of Honeywell, Inc. from 1960 to 1963.


EDP coverage is insurance that is focused on covering the equipment, software that was developed in-house, damage or loss of data, and any resulting loss of income. Prepackaged software is not generally covered. Since damage to data processing equipment and data may be caused by electrical issues, changes in temperature and humidity, and magnetic disturbances, and since these are excluded in standard policy coverage, they need to be specially elected. Portable computing devices, projectors, and peripherals can be included in the coverage. A separate kind of computer virus and hacking coverage is also available as part of EDP coverage.

Two branches of the US Armed Forces, the Marine Corps and the Air Force, offer an exam called the Electronic Data Processing Test (EDPT) as a way to determine aptitude for computer programming or technical applications specialties. It is offered at the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS). The EDPT is not offered until the Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) — the entrance exam given in order to enlist in the United States Military — has been completed. A score of 71 is required for the Air Force and 50 for the Marine Corps in order to qualify for the jobs. Retest is possible, but only after a six-month waiting period.


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Post 4

Data processing sure has changed. Electronic data processing is easier and more efficient method for keeping records. Though some people have been technology hold outs, I think most people are surprised how quickly they learn and how efficient date processing is with computers.

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