Computer Fundamentals

What is Computer?

Computer is an electronic device, which accepts input processes it and generates output.
Computer is a machine, which can not do anything by itself.

Any machine can not do things itself and requires some sort of intelligence/logic fed to it using software.
Computer is also no exception. Means, we need to develop programs/software and feed in computer so that it can start, accept input, process it and generate output.

The term computer is derived from the Latin term ‘computare’, this means to calculate or programmable machine.

Charles Babbage is called the "Father" of the computer. The First mechanical computer designed by Charles Babbage was called Analytical Engine. It uses read-only memory in the form of punch cards.

Computer is electronic machine, i.e. it is having electronic components and it works on prinple of flow of eletrons i.e. current which is micro and milli amperes. Major components of a computer are:

  • Microprocessor (generally termed as CPU)
  • RAM
  • ROM
  • Hard Disk
  • Mother Board
  • Data/Address Buses (wires to carry data and addresses from one device to another)
  • Ports (Such as USB, Ethernet, Wireless Device, Microphone, HDMI etc.
  • Keyboard
  • Monitor/Screen/VDU (Visual Display Unit)
  • Mouse etc.

Advantages of Computer

  • High Speed: Computer has unmatched processing speed. Provides excellent throughput for processing the user's tasks. For the developers speed matters once the program is developed fully. (Make sure you also have good speed to take this advantage)
  • Better Accuracy: Accuracy of computer has no doubts but it is totally depends on accuracy of the users and programmers (Are You?).
  • Repitition Power: Computer can repeat the things without any hesitation or frustration (after all its a machine). Human do not have attitude of repeating things.
  • Untiry: Computer never complains about of the strain, stress or tirying behaviour. Human gets tired even after entertaining.
  • Stores data in digital format:Computers can store millions of pages of information in digital format. We can store huge information. The present day hard-disks can store 100s of Gigabytes (GB) of information. Large businesses store their marketing and sales data in their computer systems. Even sensitive data of customers are securely protected in a computerized environment.
  • Internet & Multimedia: You can connect your computer to Internet and browse through huge data. People use internet for various purposes. Students can use internet to download study materials. A research analyst can do market research over internet. A marketing person can gather relevant data across various geographical boundaries. A prospective customer can find a service provider over internet. Computer can also be used as an entertainment device. We can play various multimedia applications such as music, video, etc.
  • Reduced cost: The introduction of computer has resulted into a reduction of cost to perform various complicated tasks.

About Computer Peripherals

Computer is consisting of many internal and external parts. Block diagram below gives an idea about input, output and processing elements of the computer

Pace Bureau - Block Diagram of Computer

Input Devices

Keyboard

Network

Hard Disk (Secondary Storage)

Processing Devices

ALU - Arithmatic & Logical Unit

The characteristics of the ALU are as follows:
  • The ALU is responsible for performing all logical and arithmetic operations.
  • Some of the arithmetic operations are as follows: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
  • Some of the logical operations are as follows: comparison between numbers, letter and or special characters.
  • The ALU is also responsible for the following conditions: Equal-to conditions, Less-than condition and greater than condition.

CU - Control Unit

The characteristics of the CU or control unit are as follows:
  • This part of the of the CPU is the one that is in charge of all the operations being carried out.
  • It is responsible to direct the system to execute instructions.
  • It helps in communication between the memory and the arithmetic logical unit.
  • It also aids in the loading of data and instructions residing in the secondary memory to the main memory as required.

MU - Memory Unit

Output Devices

Hard Disk

Monitor / Screen / VDU (Visual Display Unit)

Network

Printer

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