batch processing

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batch processing

a system by which the computer programs of a number of individual users are submitted to the computer as a single batch

batch processing

[′bach ‚präs·es·iŋ]
(computer science)
A technique that uses a single program loading to process many individual jobs, tasks, or requests for service.

batch processing

(programming)
A system that takes a set (a "batch") of commands or jobs, executes them and returns the results, all without human intervention. This contrasts with an interactive system where the user's commands and the computer's responses are interleaved during a single run.

A batch system typically takes its commands from a disk file (or a set of punched cards or magnetic tape in the old days) and returns the results to a file (or prints them). Often there is a queue of jobs which the system processes as resources become available.

Since the advent of the personal computer, the term "batch" has come to mean automating frequently performed tasks that would otherwise be done interactively by storing those commands in a "batch file" or "script". Usually this file is read by some kind of command interpreter but batch processing is sometimes used with GUI-based applications that define script equivalents for menu selections and other mouse actions. Such a recorded sequence of GUI actions is sometimes called a "macro". This may only exist in memory and may not be saved to disk whereas a batch normally implies something stored on disk.

batch processing

(1) Processing a group of files or databases from start to completion rather than having the user open, edit and save each of them one at a time. For example, a graphics conversion utility can change a selected group of images from one format to another (see DeBabelizer).

(2) Processing a group of transactions at one time. Transactions are collected and processed against the master files (master files updated) at the end of the day or some other time period. Contrast with transaction processing.

Batch and Transaction Processing
Information systems typically use both batch and transaction processing methods. For example, in an order processing system, "transaction processing" is the continuous updating of the customer and inventory files as orders are entered. At the end of the month, statements are printed (batch processed) and mailed to customers.