IPO model

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The input–process–output model

The input–process–output (IPO) model, or input-process-output pattern, is a widely used approach in systems analysis and software engineering for describing the structure of an information processing program or other process. Many introductory programming and systems analysis texts introduce this as the most basic structure for describing a process.[1][2][3][4]


A program or process using the input-process-output model receives inputs from a user or other source, does some computations on the inputs, and returns the results of the computations. The IPO model has wide application, and has been used to describe situations such as:

  • A manufacturing processes that take raw materials as inputs, applies a manufacturing process, and produces manufactured goods as output.[1]
  • A thermostat, which senses the temperature (input), decides on an action (heat on/off), and executes the action (output).[4]
  • A batch transaction processing system, which accepts large volumes of homogeneous transactions, processes it (possibly updating a database), and produces output such as reports or computations.[4]
  • An interactive computer program, which accepts simple requests from a user and responds to them after some processing and/or database accesses.[3]


  1. ^ a b Grady, J. O., "System Engineering Planning and Enterprise Identity," Taylor & Francis, 1995.
  2. ^ Goel, A., "Computer Fundamentals," Pearson Education India, 2010.
  3. ^ a b Zelle, J., "Python Programming: An Introduction to Computer Science, 2nd edition," Franklin, Beedle, & Associates, 2010.
  4. ^ a b c Curry, A. and Flett, P. and Hollingsworth, I., "Managing Information and Systems: The Business Perspective," Routledge, 2006.

IPO models are not easy but if you put your mind to it you can achieve