COMPUTER Full Form is Common Operating Machine Particularly Used for Trade, Education, and Research. Technically speaking, the term computer doesn’t have a full form. The computer is essentially derived from the word ‘compute’, which basically means ‘calculate’. Nevertheless, there is a hypothetical Full Form of COMPUTER, which is said to be Commonly Operated Machine Particularly Used for Trade, Education, and Research.
COMPUTER is a device which can be programmed to do a set of logical or arithmetic operations. Programs are a set of instructions which enable them to execute the operations. In simple words, Computer receives information or data, performs certain operations as per the program and gives the result to the user as an output. It can perform wide range of operations by executing the programs which makes computers extremely popular programmable machines.
Types of COMPUTER:
Micro Computers are of several types including laptops, tablets, notebooks, personal digital assistants, smartphones, and desktop computers. These are the least expensive among all types’ computers. These are meant for entertainment, education and other general purposes.
Notebook Computers are easily portable and widely used by people who want to use a computer on the go. The size of a notebook computer can be approximately equal to the size of a notebook and that is the reason it has got its name. Notebook computers are light in weight and they can be easily kept inside a briefcase. They are powered by chargeable batteries which make them be used in places which have no power points. Notebook computers typically run on Windows operating system or MS-DOS and they are useful for making presentations, spreadsheet computing, and word processing. Popular companies which manufacture notebook computers include; IBM, Siemens, Compaq, Toshiba, etc.
Personal computers are general purpose machines used by individuals for personal computing needs. They are generally nonportable in nature and are kept on a study table/computer table at homes or in working places. They run on MS-Windows, MS-DOS, LINUX, UNIX operating systems. These operating systems help users to do multitasking. Multitasking enables the user to switch between applications and save a lot of time while performing multiple tasks. Popular personal computer manufactures are Apple, IBM, Dell, Compaq, Siemens, Zenith, Hewlett-Packard and Toshiba.
Workstations belong to the personal computer category yet they are very powerful. They are primarily used by engineers, scientists, and architects for performing specific tasks. Workstations have large storage capacity and more processing power than personal computers. They are typically run on UNIX operating system which supports multiuser environment. They are used in CAD (Computer Aided Design) applications, multimedia applications, simulation of complex engineering problems, etc.
Workstations are costlier than personal computers and usually cost few lakhs rupees. IBM, Sun Microsystems, Hewlett-Packard, DEC and Silicon Graphics, etc are a few of the popular companies which manufacture workstations.
Mini Computers (also called as Midrange Computers) are used by small and medium enterprises. It can support hundreds of users simultaneously. Mini computers are also called as mainframe computers.
Mainframe Computers are used by institutions like banks, hospitals, insurance companies, etc which need to store data of the customers and process huge number of transactions. Mainframe computers offer massive data storage facilities and can processes data real time. They are also used in places where many users should share a computing system such as in engineering firms and educational institutions. Many government organizations are also using Mainframe Computers to because these computers can be accessed by thousands of users simultaneously.
Typically a mainframe system will have a host computer which is accompanied by a front end computer with a back-end computer, magnetic disk drives; console terminals, tape drives, user terminals, plotters, and printers. They are run on a variation of the UNIX operating system or proprietary. IBM and DEC are the major companies which manufacture mainframe computers.
Supercomputers are the most powerful computers when it comes to performance and data processing. They are very expensive and used by large organizations for specific purposes. Typically there are used for processing very complex scientific data which need high processing power.
Uses of Supercomputers:
NASA uses supercomputers for space exploration and deep space navigation.
Petroleum industries use supercomputers for analyzing a huge amount of seismic data gathered during expirations which are conducted to identify locations on the earth where petroleum products are available in abundance.
Aerospace industries are using supercomputers for simulating airflow around aircrafts which is done at different altitudes and at different speeds. This is done to ensure effective aerodynamic design and developing aircraft which can perform better.
Automobile industries are using supercomputers for crash simulation of vehicles before they go for manufacturing. Crash simulation is less expensive than actually using the real vehicle to crash and then conduct a study on it.
Meteorological industries are also using supercomputers for the purpose of weather forecasting. Data collected by satellites are fed to the supercomputers for analyzing and complex mathematical equations are solved using supercomputers.
Full Form of COMPUTER – Important Information
Parts of a COMPUTER:
A computer consists of the following parts:
It is a part of a computer which accommodates all the other components such as Processors, expansion cards, memory modules and external drives.
The processor of a computer is nothing but the Central Processing Unit (CPU). The processor is an electronic circuit in the computer which executes the instructions provided by the programs. The processor is the brain of a computer and it is often called as Microprocessor.
Memory is of two types namely RAM and ROM.
RAM: Random Access Memory is a temporary memory which means the data stored in the memory is accessible as long as the computer is ON. Once the computer is switched off the data stored in the RAM will be erased. Modern computers use RAM in the range of 4 GB – 16 GB based on the need and purpose of computing.
ROM: Read Only Memory is a kind of permanent memory. As soon as the computer is switched on, the booting instructions which are stored in the ROM start executing. Information stored in ROM is basically for read only. However, modifications can also be done with EPROM (Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory).
Hard Disk: It is the permanent memory of a computer which means the data stored in the hard disk is available even when the computer is switched off. Hard disks come with a capacity of 500 GB – 1000 GB.
Basic Units of a COMPUTER:
A computer consists of the following basic units:
An input unit is one which links the computer with the external environment. It receives instructions/data from the user, converts these instructions to a form which the computer can understand (binary form) and supplies it to the computer for further processing. Example of input devices include; Keyboards, scanners, etc.
Computers work with data in the binary form and the output from a computer will also be in the binary form. Before the processed data is supplied to the user, it needs to be converted into a human readable form. Output unit is the one which does this job. It takes the result produced by the computer, converts the result (which is in binary coded form) to human readable form and supplies that result to the user.
Arithmetic and Logic Unit:
ALU or the Arithmetic and Logic Unit is the one which does all the arithmetic and logical operations of a computer. Data stored in the primary memory of a computer is transferred to the ALU, as and when it is needed, and the results are again transferred to the primary memory. All the computers, irrespective of the configuration and design, can perform the basic arithmetic operations like addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division as well as the logical operations like less than, greater than, equal to, etc.
It is often called as the nervous system of a computer. It coordinates and manages the entire computer. The control unit of a computer will not perform any processing on the given data. It only acts as a coordinator. It receives instructions from the stored program, does the interpretation of those instructions and then issues signals to other components of the computer to execute those instructions. That is the reason it is called as “nervous system of a computer”.
Central Processing Unit:
CPU is called as the brain of a computer. The Arithmetic and Logic Unit (ALU) and control unit of a computer jointly called as the Central Processing Unit (CPU). In a human body, the brain takes all the decisions. Other parts of the body just do what the brain instructs them to do. Similarly, in a computer, the CPU takes all the major decisions and calculations are done in the CPU. As CPU controls the functions of other units of a computer, it is called as the “brain of a computer”.
Basic Operations performed by a Computer:
Irrespective of size, shape and power of computing, all the computers perform the following operations.
Inputting: It is the process of entering program into a computer
Storing: It is the process of storing the programs, data, and instructions.
Processing: It is nothing but performing arithmetic and logical operations on the given data.
Outputting: It is the process of given the results to the end user.
Controlling: It is the processing of directing the execution of the above-mentioned operations.
Advantages of Computers:
Computers are automatic machines
Computers are automatic in nature. They can carry out the assigned work without human assistance. All that a computer needs from a human is the program. Once you feed the computer with the required program to perform a specific task, the computer will take care of rest of the activities without human intervention.
Computers operate at high speed
Computers have very high speed. The speed of a computer are in the range of microseconds (10 to the power of minus 6), the nanoseconds (10 to the power of minus 9), and even the picoseconds (10 to the power of minus 12). Computers can perform millions of arithmetic and logical operations per second. A computer can do in a few microseconds, the volume of work that you would take years to complete.
Computers are very accurate
The accuracy level of a computer is normally very high. Computers will not commit errors themselves. If at all you find any error in the output from a computer, it would be because of the error in the program or instruction that is given to the computer.
Computers have high degree of diligence
Computers do not have tiredness, monotony or lack of concentration. It can work continuously for hours together without complaining. They can perform routine jobs with the greatest accuracy all the time. If a computer has to perform the billionth calculation, it will do so with the same degree of accuracy and speed with which it performed the first calculation.
Computers are versatile in nature
One of the most advantages of a computer is that it is versatile. One moment, it prepares the water bill, and the next moment it prepares electricity bill, and the very next moment it prepares telephone bills. All that it needs is a program. In a nutshell, computers can perform multitasking if you can slip in required programs.
Computers can remember anything
If you acquire any new concept, idea or knowledge, your brain selects and keeps in memory what it feels important and forgets the rest. But computers are not like that. They can remember a piece of information as long as the user wants it to remember. Information can be retrieved even after many years, with the same accuracy. It forgets or erases information only when the user instructs it to do so.
Disadvantages of computers:
Computers have no I.Q (Intelligent Quotient). They can’t take decisions on their own. It simply does what it is asked to do. You should tell the computer what exactly you want it to do through your program. This cannot be construed as a disadvantage though. In recent years, attempts have been made to build computers with artificial intelligence.
The Evolution of Computers:
Following are the few key points about the evolution of computers.
- The first machine which could do addition was invented by Blaise Pascal in the year 1642.
- The first calculator which can do multiplication was invented by Baron Gottfried Wilhelm Von Leibniz in the year 1671.
- Punched card concept was introduced by Herman Hollerith in late 1970s
- Keyboard machine came into existence in the United States of America in the year 1880.
- The “Difference Engine” which can prepare mathematically as well as statistical tables were invented by Charles Babbage in the year 1822. Charles Babbage is considered to be the father of digital computers.
- Later in the year 1842, Charles Babbage invented “Analytical Engine” which can prepare the tables completely automatic.
- Fully automatic calculating device called “Mark I Computer” or “Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator” was designed by Howard A. Aiken during 1937-1944. He had deigned this machine in collaboration with the International Business Machine (IBM).
- The Electronic machine to solve mathematical equations was invented by Dr. John Atanasoff and his deputy Clifford Berry. It was named in honor of them as “Atanasoff – Berry Computer”.
- The first ever all electronic computer ENIAC (expanded as Electronic Numerical Integrator And Calculator) was constructed at the University of Pennsylvania of the USA by a design team which was lead by Professor J. Presper Eckert and his colleague John Mauchly during 1943-1946. It was originally developed for military purposes and used for solving ballistic problems.
- The first ever computer built on “Stored Program” concept was developed during 1946-1952. This concept was introduced by Dr. John Von Neumann. Earlier versions including ENIAC had programs wired on boards which were very difficult to modify or change. This problem was eliminated with the help of EDVAC (expanded as Electronic Discrete Variable Automatic Computer). In EDVAC, programs were stored in the memory of the computer which could be easily modified or changed.
- A computer which could perform addition operations in about 1500 microseconds and multiplication operation in about 4000 microseconds was build at the Cambridge University Mathematical Lab during 1947-1949. The machine named as EDSAC (expanded as Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Calculator) was developed by a group of scientists led a by Professor Maurice Wilkes.
- The first digital computer UNIVAC I (expanded as Universal Automatic Computer) was built in the year 1951. Subsequently in 1952, IBM introduced 701 commercial computers. Later in the year 1953, IBM introduced IBM-650. Thus, commercially available digital computers had arrived.
Summary of Computer Generations:
Generation is a computer terminology used to describe the growth of computer industry in general. Following are the various generations of computers.
First Generation of Computers:
Time period of First Generation:
1942 – 1955
Key hardware technologies developed during the first generation:
Vacuum tubes, punched cards, electromagnetic relay memories and secondary storage.
Key software technologies developed during the first generation:
Machine and assembly languages and stored program concept. The computers built during the first generation were mostly used for scientific applications.
Key characteristics of first generation computers:
The computers built during 1942-1955 were bulky in size, costly to produce, highly unreliable and had limited commercial use.
Representative computers of the first generation:
ENIAC, EDSAC, EDVAC, UNIVAC I and IBM 701
Second Generation of Computers:
Time period of the second generation:
1955 – 1964
Key hardware technologies developed during the second generation:
Transistors, magnetic tapes, magnetic core memory and disks
Key software technologies developed during the second generation:
Batch operating systems and high level programming languages.
Key characteristics of second generation computers:
The computers built during 1955-1964 were faster, comparatively smaller, easier to program and more reliable. Commercial production and application were still costly and difficult.
Representative computers of the second generation:
UNIVAC LARC, IBM 7030, Honeywell 400 and CDC 1604
Third Generation of Computers:
Time period of the third generation:
1964 – 1975
Key hardware technologies developed during the third generation:
Integrated Circuits with SSI technologies, large capacity disks, large magnetic core memories, magnetic tapes, secondary storage devices, mini-computers, etc.
Key software technologies developed during the third generation:
Timesharing operating systems, unbundling of software from associated hardware, standardization of various high-level programming languages.
Key characteristics of third generation computers:
The computers built during 1964-197 were relatively smaller, reliable, affordable, little easier to manufacture and use for commercial applications, more powerful than computers built in previous versions.
Representative computers of the third generation:
IBM 360, IBM 370, PDP-11, CDC 6600, PDP-8
Fourth Generation of Computers:
Time period of Fourth Generation:
1975 – 1989
Key hardware technologies developed during the fourth generation:
Integrated Circuits with VLSI (expanded as Very Large Scale Integration) technology, semiconductor memory, microprocessors, hard disks with large storage capacity, in-built secondary storage devices, floppy disks, magnetic tapes, high-speed computer networks, personal computers, etc.
Key software technologies developed during the fourth generation:
Operating Systems for personal computers, Graphical User Interface, UNIX Operating System, use of multiple windows on the single terminal screen, the C programming language, network-based applications, PC-based applications etc.
Key characteristics of fourth generation computers:
The computers built during 1975-1989 were smaller (than the ones produced in the earlier generations), more reliable, economically affordable, more powerful mainframe systems. These computers were easy to manufacture commercially and they became totally general purpose machines.
Representative computers of the fourth generation:
IBM PCs, APPLE II, VAX 9000, TRS-80, CRAY-1, CRAYX/MP, CRAY-2
Fifth Generation of Computers:
Time period of Fifth Generation:
1989 – Till Date
Key hardware technologies developed during the fifth generation:
Integrated Circuits with VLSI (expanded as Ultra Large Scale Integration) technology, large capacity hard disks, large capacity main memory, optical disks as portable media, laptops, powerful desktop PCs, computer workstations, notebook computers, very powerful mainframes, super computers, etc.
Key software technologies developed during the fifth generation:
Internet-based applications, multimedia applications, World Wide Web
Key characteristics of fifth generation computers:
The computers built after 1989 are more powerful, reliable, cheaper, easier to manufacture commercially and are completely general purpose machines.
Representative computers of the fifth generation:
IBM notebooks, SUN workstations, Pentium PCs, SGI Origin 2000, IBM SP/2, PARAM 10000, etc.
Advancement of COMPUTER Technology :
Over the past 5 generations, computers have evolved leaps and bounds in all aspects including the algorithms, technology, structure and ease of handling. Presently it is the digital computers that are dominating the world in almost every area of life.