Here, we’ll learn About the basics of computers, with all the advanced and core level terms.
Today, computers are an important part of our daily lives. This means that computers are everywhere, making our daily work easier and faster. Today, computers can be found in banks, shops, schools, hospitals, railways, and many other places, including our homes. We should know a basic introduction to computers as it is an integral part of our life. First, let’s define a computer:
What is a computer?
The literal meaning of a computer is a machine that can calculate. However, today’s computer is no longer just a computing device. They can perform various tasks. Simply put, a computer is a programmable electronic device used to store, retrieve and process data.
“a computer is a programmable electronic device that receives data, performs arithmetic and logical operations, and produces output.”
Anything presented to the computer as input is called “data” and the output after processing is called “information.”
A brief history of computing
The word “computer” was first introduced in 1640 as “calculator”. It is derived from the Latin word “computare” which means “to calculate”. In 1897 it was called a “calculating machine”. Later, in 1945, the term “computer” was introduced to mean “programmable digital electronic computer, now called a ‘computer’.
“When computers were introduced, they were large and could fill an entire room. Some computers are powered by large vacuum tubes. In 1833, Charles Page (known as the father of the computer) invented an early calculator called the “difference engine“. Then in 1837, he introduced the “Analytical Engine”, the first multipurpose mechanical computer. Over time, computers have become more powerful and smaller.
There are five generations of computers that can be divided into the following categories:
First Generation (1946-1959): In the first generation, computers depended on electronic valves (vacuum tubes). Some popular first-generation computers are ENIAC, EDVAC, UNIVAC etc.
Second Generation (1959-1965): Second-generation computers were based on transistors. Some popular second-generation computers are IBM 1400, IBM 1620, IBM 7000 series, etc.
Third Generation (1965–1971): In the third generation, computers were based on integrated circuits (ICs). Some popular third-generation computers are IBM 360, IBM 370, PDP, etc.
Fourth Generation (1971–1980): In the fourth generation, computers were based on very large-scale integration (VLSI). Some popular 4th generation computers are STAR 1000, CRAY-1, CRAY-X-MP, DEC 10, etc.
Fifth Generation (1980-present): The fifth generation is still going strong. Computers use different technologies such as large-scale integration (ULSI), artificial intelligence (AI), and parallel processing units. Fifth-generation computers include desktops, lappies, notebooks, smartphones, etc.
Software & Hardware
Computer Software is a set of Instructions, technically called programs, these programs instruct the software to work consequently. There are 2 types of Software, which are as follows –
System Software: The system program helps to connect hardware and user, so users can interact with the computer. Such software is necessary for your computer to function properly. They provide an interface to run other programs or third-party tools. Operating systems, drivers, utilities, and firmware are typical examples of system software.
Application Software: Application Software allow users to browse online, set alarms, listen to music, play videos, design images, edit, and more. It is designed to help them perform certain tasks as Such software mainly works on the front end and allows end users to use it. Examples of application software include web browsers, Photoshop software, multimedia software, and word processors.
The physical parts connected to a computer to form a complete computer are called hardware or hardware components. Depending on its structure, there may be different types of Hardware. Some of the most common devices are mice (Mouse), keyboards, monitors, printers, etc. These are the parts that people can see and touch.
Basic Computer Parts
The basic components of a computer can be defined as:
Input Device: An input device or device used to enter data or instructions into a computer. Some of the most common input devices are the mouse and keywords.
Output Device: An output device or device is used to provide the user output in the desired format. The most common examples of output devices are monitors and printers.
Control Unit: As the name suggests, this device is mainly used to control all the features and functions of the computer. All components or devices connected to the computer interact with each other through the controller. In short, the control unit is called “CU“.
Arithmetic Logic Unit: The arithmetic Logic Unit helps to perform all arithmetic and logic operations in the computer system. In short, the Arithmetic Logic Unit is called “ALU“.
Memory: Memory stores all input data, instructions, and output data.
There are generally two types of memory: primary memory and secondary memory.
The memory inside the CPU is called main memory and the memory outside the CPU is called secondary memory. Note. The control unit, arithmetic logic unit, and memory also make up the central processing unit (called CPU).
How Computer Works
A computer has the following four essential functions:
Input: Anything given to the computer is called input. Input data is entered into the computer using an input device. Computers receive data only in binary (raw format). Input devices help convert input data into a binary format so that a computer can understand it. Data, letters, numbers, images, etc. can be entered in various formats.
Processing: Processing is the main function of a computer. The CPU helps to process the data according to the instructions entered into the computer system. Data processing is an internal process in a computer system where data is executed in a queue. When the process is complete, the data is also transmitted as output. The processor (CPU) is the brain of the computer, a microchip. Processor speed varies from computer to computer because it depends on several factors, such as the type of CPU, memory, and motherboard.
In general, the following operations are performed with data during processing:
Arithmetic Operations: Addition, subtraction, multiplication, differentiation, square root, etc., such as arithmetic operations.
Logical Operations: Equal to, not equal to, greater than, less than, opposite, etc.
Output: Anything that comes out of the computer is called output. Data that can be read by humans and displayed on a computer screen (monitor). If necessary, the output can be saved to a storage device. Output devices help transform the data processed by the CPU into a human-understandable form.
Storage: The device used to store data in a computer system is called storage. Storage devices help store digital data. They can store data while the computer is running and after processing. There are variable and non-volatile storage options. Temporary storage can store data as long as it is connected to power, while non-volatile storage can store data permanently even after the power is turned off.
The basic features of computers make them an essential part of human life. Let’s understand the main functions of the computer:
Speed: Computers are high-speed electronic machines. They can carry about 3-4 million instructions per second. Even advanced computers can process trillions of instructions per second; reducing the time it takes to complete any digital task.
Accuracy: Computers are also known for their accuracy. They can perform a certain task with almost 100% accuracy. Although computers can make mistakes, they are usually caused by bugs, incorrect instructions, or defective chips. All of these are human errors.
Storage capacity: Computers can easily store large amounts of data. Today’s computers have more memory capacity than before. And for Additional data, external hard drives, flash memory, etc. can be used as a secondary device, and We have the advantage of amazing speed, by which data can be retrieved from the store immediately.
Reliability: Computers are reliable and consistent; they can run the same task multiple times without errors. Computers don’t tire as much as humans, so they excel at repetitive, rule-based tasks.
Versatility: The tasks a computer can perform are virtually limitless. This means that the computer can perform different tasks in sequence without errors; it is no longer just a computing machine. One moment the computer can be performing data entry tasks or booking tickets, the next it can be performing complex mathematical calculations, continuous astronomical observations, etc.
Classification of Computers
Depending on their physical size, computers are divided into the following types:
Supercomputer: A supercomputer is the fastest and most expensive type of computer. It is large and requires more space for installation. Such computers are primarily designed to perform complex data-driven tasks. Supercomputers are capable of processing trillions of instructions simultaneously.
Mainframes: Mainframes are relatively smaller compared to supercomputers. However, it is not very small. Such computers are designed to handle hundreds or thousands of jobs simultaneously. These computers can perform heavy tasks, including complex calculations, and store large amounts of data. They are ideal for large institutions such as the banking, telecommunications, and education industries.
Microcomputers: Microcomputers are inexpensive and support multi-user platforms. These are ordinary computers designed to perform all the necessary tasks for human needs. They are suitable for small organizations as they are relatively slower than mainframes. Internet cafes, schools, universities, offices, etc. are most suitable for microcomputers, also known in public life as “personal computers (PCs)”. Examples of microcomputers are laptops and desktop computers.
Minicomputers: Minicomputers are also known as mini-frame minicomputers. These are multi-processor mid-range computers designed for portability. These types of computers are lightweight and can fit into tight spaces. Suitable for invoicing, accounting, education and business use. Since these mini-computers are portable, they are the best solution for those who need a computer while traveling. Tablets, laptops, and cell phones are examples of minicomputers.
Workstation: A workstation is a powerful single-user computer. The workstation has a faster microprocessor, lots of RAM, a high-quality display, lots of graphics memory, and more. is a personal computer. It is best for doing any kind of specific tasks professionally. Depending on the type of task, the workstation may be called a music workstation, a graphics workstation, or an engineering design workstation. Most businesses and professionals use workstations for tasks such as animation, music creation, video editing, poster design, data analysis, and more.
Advantages of using a computer
The main advantages of using a computer are:
- Computers can perform certain tasks at incredible speeds.
- A computer can perform the same task multiple times with the same accuracy.
- Computers allow you to multitask because they are best suited for multitasking.
- The computer keeps stored data safe and inaccessible to unauthorized users.
- Computers can use automation to automate everyday tasks so that humans can perform smarter tasks.
Disadvantages of computer use
The main disadvantages of using a computer are:
- The computer does not work alone. They need instructions from people to complete their tasks. In addition, computers blindly follow instructions given without considering the consequences.
- A computer needs electricity to run. Without power, they cannot work.
- Prolonged use of a computer can cause many health problems.
- Waste from computers and their components has a negative impact on the environment.
- Computers have taken over human jobs in many industries. They crowd out labor and thus increase unemployment.