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Digital computer designed for high-speed data processing with heavy use of input/output units such as large-capacity disks and printers. They have been used for such applications as payroll computations, accounting, business transactions, information retrieval, airline seat reservations, and scientific and engineering computations. Mainframe systems, with remote dumb terminals, have been displaced in many applications by client-server architecture.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on mainframe, visit Britannica.com.