Information Technology Fundamentals - Computing Devices
Computers are the electrical devices that take data from a user, process it, and then display the calculated results. This is jargon for describing mathematical instruments that can perform calculations quickly. We are all familiar with computers, one of the most widespread types of computing technology.
This is a massive industry that encompasses a wide variety of products that we all use in some capacity, from the simplest calculator to high-end digital cameras, mobile phones, smart phones, desktop computers, laptops, and more. Each of these processes performs the necessary arithmetic operations on incoming streams of binary digits (0s and 1s) and outputs the results in a format suitable for further processing. All they do is take data provided by the consumers and run some computations on it to generate some results. Let's use a computer as an example; we feed it information (by, say, typing or clicking the mouse), and it displays the results (the output) on the screen.
Features Common to Computing Devices
Processors: The processor, or electronic calculator, will be built into every modern computer. They carry out computations based on the coded instructions given to them.
Programming: Computations can only be carried out through the use of programming. Computers can be programmed in two different ways: operating systems and applications. An operating system (OS) facilitates user input (such as key presses, mouse clicks, and other pointing and clicking actions) on a computer. This is essentially a necessary piece of software for the proper functioning of any given system. Applications, or apps for short, are a type of software designed to perform a certain function on a computer.
Data Storage: This is another standard characteristic of computers. Programs and data are stored on various memory devices used in modern computer systems so that they can be retrieved and used at a later time. Today, people use a wide variety of storage media.
Types of Computers
An electronic device that takes raw data and turns it into useful knowledge is called a computer. It takes the user's input, processes it according to a predetermined set of instructions, and returns the expected result. There are many distinct varieties of computer, each of which may be broken down into one of two broad categories based on their physical dimensions and data processing capacities.
So, there are five distinct categories of computer systems based on their physical dimensions:
- Mainframe computer
- PC (Personal Computer)
And there are three distinct kinds of computer based on their capacity for managing data:
- Analogue Computer
- Digital Computer
- Hybrid Computer
Supercomputer: One might immediately think of a supercomputer if the topic of computer speed is brought up. These machines are the most powerful and largest in the world (in terms of speed of processing data). When it comes to computing power, supercomputers are in a league of their own, capable of performing tasks that would take a normal computer an eon to complete. This is because modern supercomputers consist of thousands of interconnected processors. Weather prediction, computer simulations, and nuclear energy research are just a few examples of the scientific and engineering uses for it. Roger Cray created the initial version in 1976.
Minicomputer: Minicomputer is a multiprocessing computer with a relatively small form factor. A clustered computer has two or more processors and may accommodate four to two hundred users simultaneously. Institutions and departments employ minicomputers for a variety of tasks, including billing, bookkeeping, inventory management, and so on. It's bigger than a microcomputer but much smaller than a mainframe.
Mainframe computer: Mainframe computers are built to accommodate hundreds or thousands of users at once. It can run numerous applications simultaneously. That's why they're able to carry out multiple tasks at once. The mainframe's ability to process large amounts of data quickly and efficiently is why it is widely used in industries like banking, telecommunications, and government.
Personal Computer (PC): A microcomputer is a similar device. It's a personal computer that may be used for a variety of tasks. It has a microprocessor for its CPU, along with memory, an input device, and an output device. Such a machine is ideal for home use, whether that be doing homework or watching a movie, or for use in the workplace for office tasks. Such as portable and stationary computer systems.
Workstation: A workstation is a computer specifically built for use in technical or scientific fields. It has a quick microprocessor, lots of RAM, and a speedy graphics adapter. This machine is for one person only. Its primary function is to carry out a precise operation.
Analogue Computer: Analogue Computer is tailored to handle analog information. Analogue data is a type of continuous data that does not contain discrete values but rather always represents a continuous quantity. Where precise measurements of speed, temperature, pressure, etc. are unnecessary, an analogue computer can be used. It doesn't require the raw data to be converted into numbers and codes before it can use it. It's a constant gauge of physical quantity change. The results are displayed graphically, usually on a dial or scale. A speedometer, mercury thermometer, etc.
Digital Computer: The seventh type of computer is the digital computer, which, because to its design, can quickly and efficiently do calculations and logical operations. It accepts data in its raw form as input and transforms it using pre-stored programs in its memory to provide the desired result. For processing, the computer must first transform the raw input data into the binary input values of 0 and 1, as that is all it can understand. These days, every kind of computer—from laptops to desktops to smartphones—is digital.
Hybrid computer: Hybrid computer is one that combines elements from more than one type of computer. The hybrid computer, likewise, combines analog and digital elements. Hybrid computers combine the speed of analog with the storage and precision of digital. As a result, it can handle both continuous and discontinuous information. When it receives an analog input signal, it digitizes it so that it may be processed by the device. As a result, it finds widespread use in niche applications that need to process both analog and digital data. An example of a hybrid computer is the processor found in gas stations that takes gasoline flow measurements and turns them into monetary values.