n 1: the serial execution of computer programs
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing (30 December 2018):
A system that takes a sequence (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
mainframe 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.
Unix cron jobs and Windows scheduled tasks are batch
processing started at a predefined time by the system whereas
mainframe batch jobs were typically initiated by an operator
loading them into a queue.