From Big Medical Encyclopedia

ELECTRONIC COMPUTER (EC) — set of the devices of various functional purpose intended for information processing (carrying out scientific and technical calculations, processing of medical information, preparation of versions of decisions at management etc.). The COMPUTER is capable to carry out operations with speed up to hundreds thousands and million operations per second. Computer facilities and the COMPUTER are widely used in medicine at the solution of a number of problems of health care, at data processing (see), in management (see) etc.

The computer consists of the following devices: entrance and output (information input, conclusion of results); memorable (storing of information); processing (the calculator, or the processor) and control units. A specific set of the elements completing the computer is defined by a circle of the tasks which are carried out by this COMPUTER.

Creation of the COMPUTER is inseparably linked with achievements in the field of the electronic equipment. The first COMPUTERS (them it is accepted to call cars of firstgeneration) were created on the basis of electron tubes. Implementation in practice of the semiconductor equipment allowed to create more compact and high-speed computers — machines of second generation. They were created with use instead of vacuum radio sets of semiconductor transistors and diodes. In cars of the third generation the so-called integrated circuits containing tens and hundreds of transistors, diodes and other elements in one module were widely used. This generation of the COMPUTER was created already on the basis of microminiaturization with use of micromodules, the package density of separate elements in to-rykh is one thousand times above, than in cars of the previous generations. Such COMPUTERS have high speed, at them dimensions and to the potrebla ny energy are sharply lowered. With their help it is possible to make calculations with the speeds exceeding speeds of the calculated processes. Depending on speed, volumes of tape recorders (see), total number of the devices entering the COMPUTER distinguish big universal COMPUTERS, small (pass) the COMPUTER and the micro COMPUTER. Big universal COMPUTERS are installed in computer centers (see). The computer centers (CC) at nek-ry hospitals, service of ambulance are created and work, at a number of the ministries, in particular at the Ministry of Health of the USSR etc. There are also VTs of collective use. In such VTs the COMPUTER of rather big power connected by communication channels to the input equipment and information output located directly at consumers is installed. In computer centers also small COMPUTERS are used. It is, as a rule, reasonable to micro COMPUTER to use directly in workplaces, creating the automated jobs (AJ). On the basis of such COMPUTERS it is possible to equip, e.g., an automated workplace of the laboratory assistant, the nurse, the doctor etc. Not accidentally whole class of the micro COMPUTER received the name of «personal COMPUTERS».

In many cases the best results can be received if for the solution of this or that arising task at the same time to use several COMPUTER. It takes place if, for example, obtaining the necessary results requires information which is in other COMPUTERS. Besides, during the work on the COMPUTER prefer to use already available programs (see Programming) since costs of a census of the programs written for one COMPUTER for use on another are often exceeded by the cost of writing of new programs. Besides, unique devices, e.g. the specialized COMPUTER oriented to the solution of a certain class of tasks can be necessary for the user. These problems are solved by connection of separate COMPUTERS by means of data transmission channels therefore COMPUTER network is formed. COMPUTERS networks allow to use effectively the general computing resources, including information which is stored in memory of any COMPUTER; need for duplication of information disappears, i.e. it is possible to use the general data bank. Besides, COMPUTERS networks allow the distributed problem solving of management of various levels, promote increase in the range of the information services provided to the user, increase in efficiency of its service, more ra to tsionalny use of computer facilities, etc. They combine computing resources of certain users. Various classes of COMPUTERS networks — local, office, regional, all-union, etc. are known. Their name reflects appointment, the sizes and the nature of use of networks.

There are three ways of use of the COMPUTER. The simplest — use of the COMPUTER for data processing (see), carrying out the calculations connected with the solution of separate tasks, preparation of various reporting data etc. The next way — use of the COMPUTER in directory systems (e.g., obtaining data on existence of free beds, ambulance cars, drugs etc.). At last, use of the COMPUTER in automated control systems (see) allows to obtain not only timely and complete information, but also to find the best solutions at management (see). As a special case of use of the COMPUTER in medicine serves machine diagnosis (see Diagnosis machine).

Work on the COMPUTER requires existence of programs, carrying out to-rye. The COMPUTER provides required result. Writing of programs — a task of programmers. However also nonprofessional programmers — e.g. doctors can write small programs. In modern COMPUTERS the dialogue duty when the individual user has a possibility of direct communication with the COMPUTER by means of the display in the course of the solution of a task is even more often applied. Replies to the requests are displayed on the screen of the display. Dialogue systems provide communication of the user with the COMPUTER in a natural language.

See also Cybernetics, Cybernetics medical, Mathematical methods (in medicine).

Bibliography: Kagan B. M. Electronic computers and systems. M, 1985.

O. I. Aquin.