c. Large-User Applications. Minicomputers are also designed to handle the
needs of many users simultaneously. A large distributed system might include
hundreds of minicomputers and peripherals tied together by communication channels to
meet the needs of a large geographical area (figure 3-10). Minicomputer systems can
expand their microcomputers in modular fashion. For example, a hospital might install
one minicomputer in its outpatient section for record-keeping and another in its
pharmacy section or laboratory. As more minicomputers were added, they could be
connected to existing ones to share common data.
a smaller geographic area and population.
d. Software Support. A microcomputer system's usefulness and efficiency are
heavily linked to the quality of the software that directs its operations. To use a
minicomputer and peripherals in a distributed system, for example, the right software is
needed. Therefore, when choosing a minicomputer system, managers often base their
decision on the software packages available. By buying the right packages, the need
for in-house staff is decreased and systems can be implemented within a relatively short
period of time.
(1) A microcomputer, commonly called a personal computer, PC, or desk
top computer, has all the functional elements of larger computers. But these elements
are miniaturized. Microcomputers can execute program instructions to accomplish a
wide variety of tasks, but unlike larger computers, they do not necessarily execute them
all at the same time. Most PCs are stand-alone (self-contained), somewhat portable