The word “computer” comes from the Latin word “computare,” which means “to calculate.”
“A computer is an electronic device that uses input devices to accept data and instructions, store them until they are needed, process them, and generate the output via output devices.”
A computer takes raw data as input and processes it using a set of instructions (a program) to produce an output. It produces output immediately after completing mathematical and logical processes, and it can preserve the output for later use. It can handle both numerical and non-numerical calculations.
The central processing unit (CPU), input devices, output devices, primary storage, secondary storage, and communication devices all make up a computer. The central processing unit (CPU) is the part of a computer that interprets and executes computer instructions.
The Analytical Engine, invented by Charles Babbage in 1837, is thought to be the first computer. It had read-only memory in the form of punch cards. Charles Babbage, often known as the “Father of the Computer,” is credited with inventing the computer.
Basic Operations of a Computer
To complete any job, all computers execute four basic operations: input, processing, output, and storage. The four basic computer operations are listed below:
- Input Operation:
It is the process of using input devices to collect or accept data or information. Input can take many forms, ranging from keyboard commands to data from another computer or device.
- Processing Operation:
It is the mechanism for turning an input into an output. A program directs the central processing unit (CPU) to complete processing tasks. The CPU saves the program instructions and data in the computer’s memory, immediately accessible for processing.
- Output Operation:
It is the outcome of the transformation process or the result of processing. On the monitor, the results of processing operations are displayed. Users can hear the results of sound processing through speakers.
- Storage Operation:
It is the process of storing data, information, or instructions to be retrieved and retained by the user at any time. The term “storage” or “memory” refers to a computer’s ability to save digital data. RAM, hard disks, and removable memory sticks are just a few examples.
The following are the basic components that a computer cannot function without:
- Processor: It executes software and hardware commands.
- Memory: It serves as the primary data transfer memory between the CPU and storage.
- Motherboard: It’s the part of a computer that connects all of the other elements and components together.
- Storage Device: It is used to save data permanently, such as a hard disk.
- Input Device: It enables you to communicate with the computer or enter data using a device such as a keyboard.
- Output Device: It allows you to view the output, such as a monitor.
Classification of Computers:
Based on the physical size, performance, and application areas, the computers are generally classified into Microcomputers, Minicomputers, Mainframe computers, Supercomputers, and Mobile computers.
#1 – Micro Computers
Personal computers are yet another name for microcomputers (PCs). Microcomputers are the lightest and most affordable in the computer family. Initially envisioned primarily for individual users, these computers have evolved into powerful tools for many enterprises that, when networked together, can serve multiple users.
Microcomputers are typically created and developed for general purposes such as browsing, information searching, internet, MS Office, social media, etc.
Desktop computers, Notebook computers, Handheld computers, and Laptop computers are some examples of microcomputers.
#2 – Mini Computers
“Midrange Computers” is another name for minicomputers. They aren’t made for a single person. They are multi-user computers that can support multiple users at the same time. As a result, small businesses and firms commonly use them.
Different departments of a company use these computers for different purposes. A Minicomputer, for example, can be used by a university’s admissions department to monitor the admissions process.
#3 – Mainframe Computers
Mainframe computers are the most powerful and more expensive computers than supercomputers. Mainframe computers are the second most powerful and expensive computers. Large enterprises primarily utilize mainframes for critical applications, such as census, industry, consumer statistics, enterprise resource planning, and financial transaction processing.
These computers have powerful processors and significant memories that allow them to quickly process large amounts of data, such as billions of instructions per second (BIPS). These computers can handle a large number of terminals at the same time.
#4 – Supercomputers
Supercomputers are the most powerful and costly computers available, with science, engineering, and business applications. These computers can process billions to trillions of instructions per second. Weather forecasting throughout the world, stock analysis, automotive design, special effects for movies, and other applications requiring complicated mathematical computations are among the uses.
Compared to other computers, supercomputers have an incredibly high computational speed, a larger storage capacity, quicker primary memory, and faster secondary storage.
#5 – Mobile Computers
Mobile computing is a technology that allows data, speech, and video to be processed and sent via a computer or other wireless-equipped device without the need for a fixed physical link.
Mobile computers are computing devices that are used on the go. Portable Laptops, Smartphones, Tablet PCs, and Personal Digital Assistants are examples of these gadgets.
Advantages of Computers
The following are some of the benefits of using a computer.
- Productivity: You can boost your productivity by using a computer. For example, if you have a basic understanding of a word processor, you can rapidly write, edit, save, and print documents.
- Internet: It lets you send emails, view articles, gather information, use social media platforms, and more by connecting you to the internet. You can connect to your long-distance friends and family members by connecting to the internet.
- Storage: You can store a significant quantity of data on a computer, such as your projects, ebooks, papers, videos, images, songs, and more.
- Organized Data: It not only lets you save the information but also helps you to organize it. You can, for example, create separate folders to hold different types of data and information, allowing you to search for information quickly and efficiently.
- Skills Improvement: If you struggle with spelling and punctuation, it might help you write better English. Similarly, if you aren’t strong at mathematics or have a poor memory, you can utilize a computer to conduct computations and save the results.
- Entertainment: You can listen to music, stream movies, play games, and more on your computer.
The computer has become an integral part of our daily life. There are several tasks that we perform daily that need the use of a computer. The following are some typical examples:
- ATM: You use a computer to withdraw cash from an ATM, which allows the ATM to receive your instructions and dispense cash accordingly.
- Digital currency: A computer maintains track of your activities and account balances, and money deposited in a bank account is saved as a digital record or digital currency.
- Trading: For day-to-day trade, stock exchanges rely on computers. Several powerful computer-based algorithms manage trading without the involvement of people.
- Smartphones: Our smartphone, which we use for calling, messaging, and browsing throughout the day, is a computer in and of itself.