<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.
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