Meaning – The term real-time, refers to the processing of data by a computer in connection with another process outside the computer according to time requirements imposed by the outside process. This term is also used to describe systems operating in conversational mode and processes that can be influenced by human intervention while they are in progress.

In Open Systems Interconnection architecture, pertaining to an application such as a process control system or a computer-assisted instruction system in which response to input is fast enough to affect subsequent input.

Real-time responses are often understood to be in the order of milliseconds, and sometimes microseconds. A system not specified as operating in real-time cannot usually guarantee a response within any timeframe, although typical or expected response times may be given.

Example of usage“A real-time system has been described as one which “controls an environment by receiving data, processing them, and returning the results sufficiently quickly to affect the environment at that time”.