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Computer Software Essay

Q1.What are the main types of software? What are the advantages of open-source software? Describe the decision making process of acquiring application software.

Q2.“In the end, information system is recognized only as a foundation for human judgment, insight and inventiveness”. Discuss. What are different types of controls and audits required for an information system?

Q3.What is computerized maintenance management? Explain the conceptual model through which the maintenance function can achieve its objectives on a sustained basis.

Q4.“Excel is a versatile spreadsheet package. It can do wonder for accountants”. Explain.

Q5. What do you understand by Artificial Intelligence? What are the factors that highlighted the need of developing AI? What are the goals of AI.

Q1.What are the main types of software? What are the advantages of open-source software? Describe the decision making process of acquiring application software.

Main Types of Software

Programming Software: This is one of the most commonly known and popularly used types of computer software. These software come in the form of tools that assist a programmer in writing computer programs. Computer programs are sets of logical instructions that make a computer system perform certain tasks. The tools that help programmers in instructing a computer system include text editors, compilers and interpreters. Compilers translate source code written in a programming language into the language which a computer understands (mostly the binary form).

System Software: It helps in running computer hardware and the computer system. System software refers to the operating systems; device drivers, servers, windowing systems and utilities. System software helps an application programmer in abstracting away from hardware, memory and other internal complexities of a computer. An operating system provides users with a platform to execute high-level programs. Firmware and BIOS provide the means to operate hardware.

Application Software: It enables the end users to accomplish certain specific tasks. Business software, databases and educational software are some forms of application software. Different word processors, which are dedicated to specialized tasks to be performed by the user, are other examples of application software.

Malware: Malware refers to any malicious software and is a broader category of software that are a threat to computer security. Adware, spyware, computer viruses, worms, trojan horses and scareware are malware. Computer viruses are malicious programs which replicate themselves and spread from one computer to another over the network or the Internet..

Adware: Adware is software with the means of which advertisements are played and downloaded to a computer. Programmers design adware as their tool to generate revenue. They do extract user information like the websites he visits frequently and the pages he likes. Advertisements that appear as pop-ups on your screen are the result of adware programs tracking you. But adware is not harmful to computer security or user privacy. The data it collects is only for the purpose of inviting user clicks on advertisements.

Inventory Management Software: This type of software helps an organization in tracking its goods and materials on the basis of quality as well as quantity. Warehouse inventory management functions encompass the internal warehouse movements and storage. Inventory software helps a company in organizing inventory and optimizing the flow of goods in the organization, thus leading to improved customer service.

Utility Software: Also known as service routine, utility software helps in the management of computer hardware and application software. It performs a small range of tasks. Disk defragmenters, systems utilities and virus scanners are some of the typical examples of utility software.

Data Backup and Recovery Software: An ideal data backup and recovery software provides functionalities beyond simple copying of data files. This software often supports user needs of specifying what is to be backed up and when. Backup and recovery software preserve the original organization of files and allow an easy retrieval of the backed up data.

Advantages of open source software

Usually, the first perceived advantage of open source models is the fact that open source software is made available gratis or at a low cost. But this characteristic is not exclusive to open source software, and several proprietary software products are made available in similar ways (a prominent case could be Microsoft’s Internet Explorer). What really distinguishes open source software from software available without fee is the combination of effects due to the characteristics discussed in section 3.1. All of them combined produce a synergistic impact which is the cause of the real advantages of the open source model. Let us provide some more detail on how do these characteristics turn into advantages

The right to redistribute modifications and improvements to the code, and to reuse other open source code, permits all the advantages due to the modifiability of the software to be shared by large communities. This is usually the point that differentiates open source software licences from “nearly free” ones. In substance, the fact that redistribution rights cannot be revoked, and that they are universal, is what attracts a substantial crowd of developers to work around open source software projects.

The right to use the software in any way. This, combined with redistribution rights, ensures (if the software is useful enough), a large population of users, which helps in turn to build up a market for support and customization of the software, which can only attract more and more developers to work in the project. This in turn helps to improve the quality of the product, and to improve its functionality. Which, once more, will cause more and more users to give the product a try, and probably to use it regularly.

The decision making process of acquiring Application Software

Applications are made available in line with business requirements. This process covers the design of the applications, the proper inclusion of application controls and security requirements, and the development and configuration in line with standards. This allows organisations to properly support business operations with the correct automated applications.

Control over the IT process of Acquire and maintain application software that satisfies the business requirement for IT of aligning available applications with business requirements, and doing so in a timely manner and at a reasonable cost by focusing on ensuring that there is a timely and cost-effective development process is achieved by:

• Translating business requirements into design specifications • Adhering to development standards for all modifications • Separating development, testing and operational activities and is measured by

• Number of production problems per application causing visible downtime • Percent of users satisfied with the functionality delivered  |

Q2.“In the end, information system is recognized only as a foundation for human judgment, insight and inventiveness”. Discuss. What are different types of controls and audits required for an information system?

Information system, an integrated set of components for collecting, storing, processing, and communicating information.

Business firms, other organizations, and individuals in contemporary society rely on information systems to manage their operations, compete in the marketplace, supply services, and augment personal lives. For instance, modern corporations rely on computerized information systems to process financial accounts and manage human resources; municipal governments rely on information systems to provide basic services to its citizens; and individuals use information systems to study, shop, bank, and invest.

Information systems controls

To ensure secure and efficient operation of information systems, an organization institutes a set of procedures and technological measures called controls. Information systems are safeguarded through a combination of general and application controls.

General controls apply to information system activities throughout an organization. The most important general controls are the measures that control access to computer systems and the information stored there or transmitted over telecommunications networks. General controls include administrative measures that restrict employee access to only those processes directly relevant to their duties. As a result, these controls limit the damage that any individual employee or employee impersonator can do. Fault-tolerant computer systems installed in critical environments, such as in hospital information systems or securities marketplaces, are designed to control and isolate problems so that the system can continue to function.

Application controls are specific to a given application and include such measures as validating input data, regularly archiving copies of various databases, and ensuring that information is disseminated only to authorized users.

The effectiveness of an information system’s controls is evaluated through an information systems audit. It is a part of a more general financial audit that verifies an organization’s accounting records and financial statements. Information systems are designed so that every financial transaction can be traced. In other words, an audit trail must exist that can establish where each transaction originated and how it was processed. Aside from financial audits, operational audits are used to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of information systems operations.

Q3.What is computerized maintenance management? Explain the conceptual model through which the maintenance function can achieve its objectives on a sustained basis.

Computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) is also known as enterprise asset management and computerized maintenance management information system (CMMIS). A CMMS software package maintains a computer database of information about an organization’s maintenance operations, i.e. CMMIS – computerized maintenance management information system. This information is intended to help maintenance workers do their jobs more effectively (for example, determining which machines require maintenance and which storerooms contain the spare parts they need) and to help management make informed decisions (for example, calculating the cost of machine breakdown repair versus preventive maintenance for each machine, possibly leading to better allocation of resources). CMMS data may also be used to verify regulatory compliance.

CMMS packages may be used by any organization that must perform maintenance on equipment, assets and property. Some CMMS products focus on particular industry sectors (e.g. the maintenance of vehicle fleets or health care facilities). Other products aim to be more general.

CMMS packages can produce status reports and documents giving details or summaries of maintenance activities. The more sophisticated the package, the more analysis facilities are available.

Many CMMS packages can be either web-based, meaning they are hosted by the company selling the product on an outside server, or LAN based, meaning that the company buying the software hosts the product on their own server.

The conceptual model through which the maintenance function can achieve its objectives on a sustained basis are used to manage simple or complex facilities, from a single building to a complete campus. They can also be used to manage the maintenance program for a grouping of equipment such as a fleet of vehicles. The systems are very versatile since most are in modular form for the various maintenance functions and can be customized to fit the particular application.

Whatever system or set of modules are selected for use, careful consideration needs to be given to Functional Requirements and a sound deployment plan. The CMMS must meet the needs, constraints, and opportunities of the business and be implemented in a way that users will welcome the technology and have a vision for the benefits it brings. Proper configuration, testing, and training cannot be over emphasized when bringing a new CMMS or upgrading an existing system to an organization.

Q4.“Excel is a versatile spreadsheet package. It can do wonder for accountants”. Explain.

Excel spreadsheets are the most common and indispensable tool used by accountants, enabling them to analyse, report and share financial information. Much of this can be accomplished using only a fraction of the wealth of functions and options within the Excel program. Basic arithmetic, the SUM() function and some cell border formatting will let you produce useful models and perform some quite complex calculations. By expanding your knowledge with just a few other functions, Excel can become a much more versatile tool. Very occasionally Excel does not contain a function that you may expect, and it is necessary to combine other functions to perform tasks such as calculating weighted averages. Accountants have a professional responsibility to present accurate data.

The IF() and TEXT() functions are essential for incorporating error checking messages to demonstrate that the spreadsheet models have been reconciled and are performing properly. A spreadsheet presentation gives reports a degree of unearned credibility. This is frequently ill-deserved and research shows that a high proportion of large models contain critical errors. Your spreadsheets must be well designed and thoroughly checked If you wish to be selective with your data and only perform calculations on items that meet certain criteria, both Database and Array functions are useful, but SUMPRODUCT() is the most versatile and wonderful alternative. It is able to extract all sorts of values from a table of data and can be used as an alternative to a great many functions.

Graphs are a great way to present information, but keep them simple. Don’t get carried away with 3D formats which can make it difficult to read important axis values. If you update a chart on a regular basis, you are very likely to occasionally forget to manually alter any titles which contain period information. It is best to link chart titles to cell contents which can be automatically updated.

A popular, modern Financial Management technique is that of balanced scorecards which often incorporate traffic light indicators. Conditional formatting for cell ranges is not only useful for highlighting exceptional or incorrect values but can be used to automatically colour cells to show good or bad performance.

In order to report on tables of data with separate columns or rows for each accounting period, the OFFSET() function lets you select data for any single or cumulative period.

There are numerous financial functions for performing interest and investment calculations. These can greatly simplify the long formulae previously required for things such as loan repayments – but always beware. The built in functions may perform differently to your own (textbook) formulas. They may invert the sign and show negative results where you expect positive; they may use a base period of p0 where you assume it is p1.

Once you have tested the financial functions using a variety of situations and confirmed the results, they make tasks such as calculating the Net Present Value much easier. Finally, it is always helpful to make your models friendly to other users. Protecting or restricting the values that can be placed in cells will prevent unforeseen errors. Drop down boxes are a splendid way of getting values from users and hyperlinks can guide them around your models. By incorporating dates and filenames in default headers and footers, anyone can trace the source of your masterpiece.

Q5. What do you understand by Artificial Intelligence? What are the factors that highlighted the need of developing AI? What are the goals of AI.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is the intelligence of machines and the branch of computer science that aims to create it. While there are many different definitions, AI textbooks define the field as “the study and design of intelligent agents. where an intelligent agent is a system that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its chances of success. John McCarthy, who coined the term in 1956 defines it as “the science and engineering of making intelligent machines.

The field was founded on the claim that a central property of humans, intelligence—the sapience of Homo sapiens—can be so precisely described that it can be simulated by a machine. This raises philosophical issues about the nature of the mind and the ethics of creating artificial beings, issues which have been addressed by myth, fiction and philosophy since antiquity. Artificial intelligence has been the subject of optimism,[8] but has also suffered setbacks and, today, has become an essential part of the technology industry, providing the heavy lifting for many of the most difficult problems in computer science.

AI research is highly technical and specialized, deeply divided into subfields that often fail in the task of communicating with each other Subfields have grown up around particular institutions, the work of individual researchers, and the solution of specific problems, resulting in longstanding differences of opinion about how AI should be done and the application of widely differing tools. The central problems of AI include such traits as reasoning, knowledge, planning, learning, communication, perception and the ability to move and manipulate objects. General intelligence (or “strong AI”) is still among the field’s long term goals.

Goals of AI:

The long-term goals of AI include finding out what the world is like, understanding it, and changing it, or, in other words,

a.empirical study and modelling of existing intelligent systems (mainly human beings);

b.theoretical analysis and exploration of possible intelligent systems and possible mechanisms and representations usable by such systems; and

c.solving practical problems in the light of (a) and (b), namely:

c.1.attempting to deal with problems of existing intelligent systems (e.g., problems of human learning or emotional difficulties) and

c.2.designing useful new intelligent or semi intelligent machines.

Some people restrict the term `artificial intelligence’ to a subset of this wide-ranging discipline. For example, those who think of it as essentially a branch of engineering restrict it to (c.2). This does not do justice to the full range of work done in the name of AI.

In any case, it is folly to try to produce engineering solutions without either studying general underlying principles or investigating the existing intelligent systems on which the new machines are to be modelled or with which they will have to interact. Trying to build intelligent systems without trying to understand general principles would be like trying to build an aeroplane without understanding principles of mechanics or aerodynamics. Trying to build them without studying how people or other animals work would be like trying to build machines without ever studying the properties of any naturally occurring object.

The need to study general principles of thought, and the ways in which human beings perceive, think, understand language, etc., means that AI work has to be done in close collaboration with work in psychology, linguistics, and even philosophy, the discipline that examines some of the most general presuppositions of our thought and language. The term `cognitive science’ can also be used to cover the full range of goals specified above, though it too is ambiguous, and some of its more narrow-minded practitioners tend to restrict it to (a) and (c.1).


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