What is computer?

What is computer?  :- The computer generally meant computations done by a person. The word computer is derived from the Latin word “computare“, which means calculating or programmable machine. It cannot do anything without a program. In todays world the term almost generally refers to automated electronic machines. It is used mostly in all sectors to make the work easy and getting very precise result with least human effort.

In this article, I am going to mention some of the important information related to what is computer. This article mostly focuses on what is computer?, types of computer, various generations of computer, invention of computer,  modern digital electronic computers and their design, components, and applications and many more.

What is Computer

What is Computer?

Computer is an electronic device that manipulates information or data. It can store, retrieve and process data. In todays world the term almost generally refers to automated electronic machines. We can also say it as a device for processing, storing, and displaying information, write documents, send emails, play games, and surf the internet. You can also use it to edit or create spreadsheets, presentations, and even videos.

Computer is an electronic device that takes information/data from the user (input) and under the control of a series of instructions (i.e program) processes that data and then provides the result (output) and saves it also for future use.

What is the full form of computer

  • C– Common
  • O– Operating
  • M– Machine
  • P– Purposely
  • U– Used for
  • T– Technological
  • E– Educational
  • R– Research

It means Common Operating Machine Purposely Used for Technological and Educational Research. It is a general purpose electronic device that can perform arithmetic and logic operations automatically.

What are different classifications of computer

followings are the complete list of  computer used in past and present:

There are three main classification

  1. Digital computer
  2. Analog computer
  3. Hybrid computer

Other various computers which are most used in present days areas follows:

Microcomputer- It refers to PC and uses a single integrated semiconductor chip microprocessor.

Laptop(Notebook)- Easily transportable handling computer

Personal computer(PC)- Mainly designed to use for single person at a time

Supercomputer- High performing computer that operates at extremely high speeds

Tablet- Wireless PC with touch screen

Mainframe – Centralized computer used for large scale computing

Workstation- Special computer designed for technical or scientific applications

Server- It provides data to other computers and it serve data on Local area network (LAN) or wide area network (WAN) over the internet.

Smartphone etc.

Digital computer: It is a computer that makes operation by counting of digits and that performs various computational functions and present it in the discrete form. It usually uses a binary number system which consist of a series of only two digits: (i.e 0 and 1). The era of this digital computers are began from the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany in 1930.

It consists of basically three main components which are: Input Device, Central Processor unit (CPU), Output Device. It is used for all purpose.

Analog computer: It is a computer that make operation by measuring of such data which remains incontinuous in nature and which is used to measure physical quantities such as: pressure, temperature, length ,hight etc.  A thermometer is an analog device that measures the temperature of human body.

The analog computer is mostly used in engineering and science fields.

Hybrid computer: It is a super computer that has both capabilities of both digital analog computer. The digital components normally act as controllers that provides logical and numerical operations , while the analog components often act as a solver of differential equations and other mathematically complex equations. It is used for specific task.

Who invented computer?

It is not easy to answer to this question in one line that someone invent this because of various different classifications developments. By the way the first mechanical computer was developed by Charles Babbage in 1822, but it does not looks like todays computer.

In 19th century a famous mathematics professor ‘Charles Babbage’ started it and making first mechanical computer, that’s why he is known as the Father of Computer. He designed an analytical engine (the first mechanical computer).

In 1822, Charles Babbage along with a British professor of mathematics, they created the first steam-powered automatic mechanical calculator and named it as Difference Engine.

In 1837, Charles Babbage proposed the first general mechanical computer and named it as analytical engine. It contained an ALU (Arithmetic Logic Unit), a basic flow control and an onboard memory. It was the first concept of universal computer. But due to financial reason it has not built in the presence of Charles Babbage.

In 1910 Henry Babbage youngest son of Charles Babbage complete this project and make a machine to perform basic calculations.

In 1872, after Charles Babbage died, The great physicist William Thomson invented a machine which is capable of performing complex calculations and predict some ideas about the tides in any given place. That is considered as first analogue computer.

In 20th century, H.L Hazen and Vannevar Bush built a differential analyser at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) between 1928 and 1931 and it is considered as first computer.

Generation of Computer

The development in the computer technology in various different generations are given below:

First generation:

The period (1940-1956) is known as first generation of computer. In this generation computer were having very big size like a room. Vacuum tubes were the main components of circuit for this computer and it is used as circuits and magnetic drums for memories.

This machine uses punched cards and paper tape for its input but the out was displayed on printouts. It worked on binary code concepts.

There is one of the major problem with this computer is that it generates quite large amount of heat and that causes problems. Some of the examples of first generation computer are: ENIAC, EDVAC (Electronic Discrete Variable Computer), ABC (Atanasoff Berry Computer) etc.

Second Generation:

The period (1956-1963) is known as second generation of computer. In this generation the size of the computer was smaller than the 1st generation and there was a replacement of vacuum tubes with transistor. It used magnetic tape storage to increase storage capacity.

The computing time of this computer was lesser than the first generation, it used assembly language instead of  machine language. Some of the examples of second generation computer are: IBM 7090, IBM 7094, IBM 1400, UNIVAC (Universal Automatic Computer) etc.

Third Generation:

The period (1964-1971) is known as third generation of computer. It was developed by using integrated circuits (ICs). This computer was smaller, cheaper, and faster than other previous generations.

It used keyboard for input, monitors for output, and used some programming languages also such as FORTRAN (formula translation) and C-Language etc. It consumed less power and the generation of heat was also very less.

The maintenance cost for this computer was less and it can be taken consideration for commercial use. Some of the examples of third generation computer are: IBM 360, IBM 370 etc.

Fourth Generation:

The period (1972-2010) is known as fourth generation of computer.  This generation computer were developed by using microprocessor and it also used RAM (Random Access Memory), ROM (Rread Only Memory) and high level programming languages like C and C ++.

This generation make the computer very small and it became portable, it also generate very less heat which did not created any serious problems due to heat as compare to other previous generation.

It was very much faster and available with minimized cost so an ordinary can also take this for their personal use. Some of the examples of fourth generation computer are: IBM PCs etc.

Fifth Generation:

The period 2010 to till date and beyond is known as fifth generation of computer. This generation computer based on AI (Artificial Intelligence) and having large storage capacity, which includes large embedded chips. It gives quick response to  any work or solve complex problems within a second. It can perform multiple task at same time.

It can makes decisions through logical thinking. Todays Internet, cloud computing, and high bandwidth data transfer makes quick and efficient data distribution over network. Some of the advanced technology which are used in fifth generation computer are: AI (Artificial Intelligence), quantum computing, nanotechnology, parallel processing etc.


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