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By E. C. Coles and D. W. Hill (Auth.)

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In addition to this row parity, as it is called, many systems write a parity row at the end of each block, so-called block parity, and check this on reading. For economical use of space on a magnetic tape, blocks should be at least as big as the gaps between them, and preferably much larger. Typically, blocks which are only as long as inter-block gaps will contain about 400 characters. If, on such a system, the blocks average 7,000 characters in length the number of characters that can be held on a standard size magnetic tape (which is 730 metres long) will be about 10 million.

TYPES OF PROBLEMS The nature of the processes of systems analysis and design varies con­ siderably with the type of problem being tackled. If the problem is basically a numerical one, the stage of systems analysis may consist only of the statement of the objectives of the system, as the nature and usage of the information may be well established. Systems design for such a system may simply consist of selecting the appropriate technique of numerical or statistical analysis. On the other hand, in any system concerned with rapid response to extemal events or with files of data, the stages of systems analysis and design require much more time and effort.

The input and output devices and the external or 'backing' storage devices of the computer's filing system are known collectively as 'peripherals' and are described in the next two chapters. CONTROL AND ARITHMETIC UNITS The central processor contains two main units, the 'control unit' and the 'arithmetic unit'. The control unit is concerned with obtaining and interpreting the instructions of the program and the arithmetic unit, and with performing the logical and arithmetical operations required by the program.

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