A computer is a programmable machine designed to perform arithmetic and logical operations automatically and sequentially on the input given by the user and gives the desired output after processing. Computer components are divided into two major categories namely hardware and software. Hardware is the machine itself and its connected devices such as monitor, keyboard, mouse etc. Software are the set of programs that make use of hardware for performing various functions.
Computer is an electronic device that is designed to work with Information. The term computer is derived from the Latin term ‘computare’, this means to calculate or programmable machine. Computer cannot do anything without a Program. It represents the decimal numbers through a string of binary digits. The Word ‘Computer’ usually refers to the Center Processor Unit plus Internal memory.
Today’s world is an information-rich world and it has become a necessity for everyone to know about computers. A computer is an electronic data processing device, which accepts and stores data input, processes the data input, and generates the output in a required format.
Functionalities of a Computer
If we look at it in a very broad sense, any digital computer carries out the following five functions
- Takes data as input.
- Stores the data/instructions in its memory and uses them as required.
- Processes the data and converts it into useful information.
- Generates the output.
- Controls all the above four steps.
CHARACTERISTICS OF COMPUTERS
- Advantages of Computers
Following are certain advantages of computers.
- High Speed
Computer is a very fast device. It is capable of performing calculation of very large amount of data. The computer has units of speed in microsecond, nanosecond, and even the picoseconds. It can perform millions of calculations in a few seconds as compared to man who will spend many months to perform the same task.
In addition to being very fast, computers are very accurate. The calculations are 100% error free. Computers perform all jobs with 100% accuracy provided that the input is correct.
- Storage Capability
Memory is a very important characteristic of computers. A computer has much more storage capacity than human beings. It can store large amount of data. It can store any type of data such as images, videos, text, audio, etc002E
Unlike human beings, a computer is free from monotony, tiredness, and lack of concentration. It can work continuously without any error and boredom. It can perform repeated tasks with the same speed and accuracy.
A computer is a very versatile machine.
A computer is very flexible in performing the jobs to be done.
This machine can be used to solve the problems related to various fields.
At one instance, it may be solving a complex scientific problem and the very next moment it may be playing a card game.
A computer is a reliable machine. Modern electronic components have long lives. Computers are designed to make maintenance easy.
Computer is an automatic machine. Automation is the ability to perform a given task automatically. Once the computer receives a program i.e., the program is stored in the computer memory, then the program and instruction can control the program execution without human interaction. Reduction in Paper Work and Cost. The use of computers for data processing in an organization leads to reduction in paper work and results in speeding up the process.
As data in electronic files can be retrieved as and when required, the problem of maintenance of large number of paper files gets reduced. Though the initial investment for installing a computer is high, it substantially reduces the cost of each of its transaction.
- Disadvantages of Computers
Following are certain disadvantages of computers.
- No I.Q.: A computer is a machine that has no intelligence to perform any task. Each instruction has to be given to the computer. A computer cannot take any decision on its own.
- Dependency: It functions as per the user’s instruction, thus it is fully dependent on humans.
- Environment: The operating environment of the computer should be dust free and suitable. No Feeling
- Computers have no feelings or emotions. It cannot make judgment based on feeling, taste, experience, and knowledge unlike humans.
A computer system consists of mainly four basic units; namely input unit, storage unit, central processing unit and output unit. Central Processing unit further includes Arithmetic logic unit and control unit.
A computer performs five major operations or functions irrespective of its size and make. These are
- Accepts data or instructions as input.
- Stores data and instruction.
- Processes data as per the instructions.
- Controls all operations inside a computer, and
- Gives results in the form of an output.
INPUT UNIT: This unit is used for entering data and programs into the computer system by the user for processing.
OUTPUT UNIT: The output unit is used for storing the result as output produced by the computer after processing.
PROCESSING: The task of performing operations like arithmetic and logical operations is called processing.STORAGE UNIT: The storage unit is used for storing data and instructions before and after processing.