Astronauts Alexander Gerst and Serena Auñón-Chancellor train on computer


Definition of Computer :

§  The term computer is derived from the word ‘computer’, which means to calculate. But today’s computers are not just calculating devices.

§  Computers are versatile; they are capable of performing varied types of jobs and can handle multiple applications at one time.

§  The acronym for the computer is: “Common Oriented Machine particularly used for Trade, Education, and Research.”

§  A computer is an electronic device that manipulates information or data. It has the ability to store, retrieve, and process data and gives the output in a desired manner.

Characteristics of Computer:

§  SPEED: The computer is a very fast calculating device. It can execute basic operations like addition, multiplication, subtraction, and division in a few microseconds.

§  ACCURACY: The accuracy of Computers does not go down when they are used continuously for hours together. It always gives accurate results.

§  STORAGE: The computer has a very large storage capacity. It has an in-built memory where it can store a large amount of data. We can also store data in secondary storage devices like Floppy disks, Hard disks, etc.

§  VERSATILITY: It means Computers can perform different types of jobs efficiently. Computers can work with different types of data and information such as visuals, text, graphics & video, etc. at the same time.

§  PAPER WORK REDUCED: The Computer reduces the paperwork of any organization. The required data which was earlier stored in files, drawers, and cabinets is now stored in the memory of the computer. So Organisations can reduce the paperwork.

§  MANPOWER REDUCED: The work which was done by many persons in an office can be done by one computer with more accuracy and efficiency. Thus an Organisation needs less manpower or persons to employ.

§ DILIGENCEA Computer can work for long hours with the same accuracy and speed because it is free from the problems of boredom or lack of concentration.

Drawbacks of Computer :

Despite various advantages, computers have certain limitations also:-

§  NO IQ: A Computer is a dumb machine and it cannot do any work without instruction from the user. It has no intelligence of its own. So the Computer cannot make its own decision as we can.

§  NO FEELINGS: It does not have feelings or emotion, taste, knowledge, or experience. That’s why it does not tire even after long work hours.

§  NO DECISION-MAKING CAPABILITY: Computers are not capable of taking decisions. Human beings take decisions after analyzing the output given by the computer.

Applications of Computer :

The use of computers is well recognized since we are living in an information society.

Information Technology is playing an ever-growing role in our lives.

It includes telecommunications, microwaves, lasers, and fiber optics along with computers.

There is no area of human life that is not affected by the power of computer systems.

A computer is a tool to work with information and to create new information. The following are the applications:-

§  Uses of Computers in Homes: These days, computers are essential for a family like washing machines and refrigerators. They are used for entertainment, watching movies, playing games, etc. Computers are used to manage finances, work in a home away from the office, do Internet Backing, communication, information sharing, do homework, etc.

§  Computers in Education: More and more schools are adding computer technology to their syllabi so that students may be aware of computer skills and may use these skills for other subjects also. Computers can be used for solving engineering, mathematical and scientific problems with great speed and accuracy. Students make use of Encyclopaedias to search and find useful information. They can read the books available online and can surf the e-libraries of other institutions.

§  Computers in Entertainment: Computer also finds a place in the music and entertainment industry. MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) is a tool for creating and recording music. Children particularly use of computers for the purposes of entertainment.

§  Computer and Health Care: Computers play a major role in the field of medical diagnosis and health care. The detection of diseases and their suitable preparation has become fast and quick using IT tools. Moreover, the diagnosis is accurate and quick. In health care, physicians and surgeons use computers for performing delicate operations, conducting surgeries, ultrasound and laser eye surgeries, MIR, CT scans, and maintaining patients’ records, etc.

§  Computer and Weather forecasting: Computers are used to get correct and timely predictions of weather conditions. People working and living at sea shores and in hilly areas make suitable arrangements for saving their lives and avoiding damage.

§  Computer and Business Sector: Computers also find a place in business; even small companies use computers to perform their basic functions and to manage accounting, inventory, marketing, payroll, etc.

§  Computers in Banking: Banking functions in all the urban, semi-urban, and rural areas are fully computerized. ATMs have been installed by all the banks at various locations to provide the facility of quick withdrawal of money at any time. Computerized statements of account and interest calculation can be obtained in a few seconds, which was initially a very time-consuming job. the survival of the banking industry is impossible without computers.

§  Computers in Communication: Now a day’s people don’t use conventional methods of communication. They communicate through email, voice chat, audio, and video conferencing. In these methods, We don’t have to arrange the meeting’s venues and management. This saves a lot of time and money. People communicate and exchange ideas sitting in remote graphical areas.

§  Computers and Industries: Industries use different types of computers in many combinations to automate their jobs. Computers are used to design and make new products, computer-aided design(CAD), and computer-aided manufacturing(CAM) of many parts.

§  Computers in Govt. Sector: Govt is also a big consumer of technology. They use computers to calculate taxes and revenues, and military people use computers for weapon control, to communicate on radio underwater, on air, and on the surface of the earth. Govt. also uses computerized control systems to manage traffic. Moreover, airlines and railways are also computerized. the details of flights or rail can be easily found on computers via the Internet. The entire world has become small because of the availability of Information Technology.

§  Computers in Agriculture: Information Technology is used in crop farming and management practices. This area includes the control of pests and diseases, weed control, land preparation, and other related practices.

Components of Computer :

22.  A computer system has mainly four basic units. These are:

§  Input Unit: This unit is used for entering data and programs into the computer system of the user for processing.

§  Storage Unit: The storage unit stores data and instructions before and after processing.

§  Central Processing Unit: The CPU takes data and instructions from the storage unit and makes all sorts of calculations based on the instructions given to it. Then it is sent back to the storage unit. CPU includes an Arithmetic logic unit (ALU) and a control unit (CU).

§  Output Unit: The output unit is used for storing the result as output produced by the computer after processing.

History of Computers :

§  ABACUS was the first calculating device that was invented by the Chinese. It consisted of a frame, which had a number of wires and each wire contained some beads. The beads were used for counting and calculations. Here beads were stored at one side of the frame and moving the beads to another side performed calculations.

§  Napier’s Bones: Another accounting device invented by John Napier, a very strange Scotsman, “bones” were strips of ivory with numbers written in them. When the bones were arranged properly, the user could read the numbers in adjacent columns to get the answer to a multiplication operation.

§  The Pascaline-Adding Machine: Blaise Pascal invented the first machine which could add also called hand powered adding machine in early 1642. The machine invented by Blaise Pascal was so revolutionary that the principle behind it is still used in most of the mechanical computers being used today. Addition and subtraction could easily be performed; division could be performed by subtraction, multiplication, and by repeated addition.

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