Process (lat. processus - movement) is a naturally occurring or designed sequence of operations or events, possibly taking up time, space, expertise or other resource, which produces some outcome. A process may be identified by the changes it creates in the properties of one or more objects under its influence. Compare: project. See also: process management, process theory, and Category:Nature.
A process may be categorized as singular, recurrent, or periodic. A singular process would be one which occurs only once. Few processes in nature can be considered singular. Most processes found in nature are recurrent, or repeat more than once. Recurring processes which repeat at a constant rate are considered periodic. The more periodic a process is the more useful it is as the basis of a clock. Below are a few specific examples of processes.
- The Bessemer process is a way of producing steel.
- The process of mining extracts ore.
- Evolution is a natural process which explains the adaptation of species over long peroids of time. (generally assumed to be an example of a recurrent process)
- The creation of the universe by God would be an example of a divine process. (generally assumed to be a singular process)
- Process music
- Civic governance and conflict resolution
- Error correction in the information processing of a stream of data.
- Protein biosynthesis
Businesses organize interactions by means of business processes.
Computing has many concepts of process.
In computing, a computer process is a running instance of a program, including all variables and other states. A multitasking operating system switches between processes to give the appearance of simultaneous execution, though in fact, in general, only one process can be executing per CPU core. Some new processors, such as Intel's Pentium 4 with Hyperthreading capability, can actually execute two proceses at a time, because some parts of the core are doubled. More companies announced development of multicore processors.
Different processes mix the steps together in different ways, and assign responsibility to people in different ways.
Agile processes take the opposite approach, making things flexible.
Information system development
In the context of Information System Development a process is performed to produce a product. Such processes are also called techniques.
Products represent what shall be constructed, e.g. class diagrams, state charts, and so on. Processes (techniques) are the procedures which describe in what order the construction of the products shall be performed, e.g. “at first, identify classes and objects” to construct a class diagram, “identify states”, and so on. In [Rolland1993] the term process is defined as “a related set of activities conducted to the specific purpose of product definition”.
|[Rolland1993]||C. Rolland. Modeling the Requirements Engineering Process, 3rd European-Japanese Seminar on Information Modelling and Knowledge Bases, Budapest, Hungary, June 1993.|
|[Rolland1998]||C. Rolland. A Comprehensive View of Process Engineering. Proceedings of the 10th International Conference CAiSE'98, B. Lecture Notes in Computer Science 1413, Pernici, C. Thanos (Eds), Springer. Pisa, Italy, June 1998|
|[Saeki]||M. Saeki. CAME: The First Step to Automated Method Engineering|
A chemical process is a series of unit operations used to produce a material in large quantities.
In the chemical industry, chemical engineers will use the following to define or illustrate a process:
- Process Flow Diagram (PFD)
- Piping and Instrumentation Diagram (P&ID)
- Simplified Process Description
- Detailed Process Description
In philosophy and systems theory, basic processes, or logical homologies as they were termed by Ludwig von Bertalanffy, are unifying principles which operate in many different systemic contexts. For example, feedback is a principle that figures prominently in the science of cybernetics. Natural and industrial processes utilize basic processes such as feedback.
- Ludwig von Bertalanffy, General System Theory, George Braziller, New York, 1968, pages 84,85 ISBN 0807604534