The Evolving Role of Software

Software is a general term for the various kinds of programs used to operate computers and related devices. Software is a generic term used to describe computer programs. Scripts, applications, programs and a set of instructions are all terms often used to describe software. The term hardware describes the physical aspects of computers and related devices. Software can be thought of as the variable part of a computer and hardware the invariable part.

Computer software is the product that software professionals build and then support over the long term. Software is more than just a program code. A program is an executable code, which serves some computational purpose. Software is considered to be collection of executable programming code, associated libraries and documentations. Software, when made for a specific requirement is called software product. Software is an information transformer, which acquire, modify, store and transmitting the data.

Dual Role of Software :

Today, software takes on a dual role. It is a product, and at the same time, the vehicle for delivering a product. As a product, it delivers the computing potential embodied by computer hardware or more broadly, by a network of computers that are accessible by local hardware. Whether it resides within a mobile phone or operates inside a mainframe computer, software is an information transformer—producing, managing, acquiring, modifying, displaying, or transmitting information that can be as simple as a single bit or as complex as a multimedia presentation derived from data acquired from dozens of independent sources. As the vehicle used to deliver the product, software acts as the basis for the control of the computer (operating systems), the communication of information (networks), and the creation and control of other programs (software tools and environments). Software delivers the most important product of our time "information".

Software transforms personal data (e.g., an individual’s financial transactions) so that the data can be more useful in a local context; it manages business information to enhance competitiveness; it provides a gateway to worldwide information networks (e.g., the Internet), and provides the means for acquiring information in all of its forms.

The role of computer software has undergone significant change over the last half-century. Dramatic improvements in hardware performance, profound changes in computing architectures, vast increases in memory and storage capacity, and a wide variety of exotic input and output options, have all precipitated more sophisticated and complex computer-based systems. Sophistication and complexity can produce dazzling results when a system succeeds, but they can also pose huge problems for those who must build complex systems.

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