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computer

A computer generally means a programmable machine. The two principal characteristics of a computer are: it responds to a specific set of instructions in a well-defined manner and it can execute a prerecorded list of instructions (a program).

computer definition

Modern Computers Defined

Modern computers are electronic and digital. The actual machinery wires, transistors, and circuits is called hardware; the instructions and data are called software.

All general-purpose computers require the following hardware components:

  • memory: enables a computer to store, at least temporarily, data and programs.
  • mass storage device: allows a computer to permanently retain large amounts of data. Common mass storage devices include disk drives and tape drives.
  • input device: usually a keyboard and mouse, the input device is the conduit through which data and instructions enter a computer.
  • output device: a display screen, printer, or other device that lets you see what the computer has accomplished.
  • central processing unit (CPU): the heart of the computer, this is the component that actually executes instructions.
  • In addition to these components, many others make it possible for the basic components to work together efficiently. For example, every computer requires a bus that transmits data from one part of the computer to another.

    Computer Classification: By Size and Power

    Computers can be generally classified by size and power as follows, though there is considerable overlap:

  • personal computer: a small, single-user computer based on a microprocessor. In addition to the microprocessor, a personal computer has a keyboard for entering data, a monitor for displaying information, and a storage device for saving data.
  • workstation: a powerful, single-user computer. A workstation is like a personal computer, but it has a more powerful microprocessor and a higher-quality monitor.
  • minicomputer: a multi-user computer capable of supporting from 10 to hundreds of users simultaneously.
  • mainframe: a powerful multi-user computer capable of supporting many hundreds or thousands of users simultaneously.
  • supercomputer: an extremely fast computer that can perform hundreds of millions of instructions per second.
  • Top 5 Computer Related Questions

    1. What is computer history?
    2. What is computer hardware?
    3. What is computer software?
    4. What is computer science?
    5.What is computer interface?







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