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Baluchistan University of Information Technology Engineering & Management Sciences Quetta

Department of Computer Engineering Facilitator: Engr. Muhammad Ashraf Email address:

Computer is an electronic device that is designed to work with Information. The term computer is derived from the Latin term computer, this means to calculate. Definition of Computer Computer is an advanced electronic device that takes raw data as input from the user and processes these data under the control of set of instructions (called program) and gives the result (output) and saves output for the future use. Charles Babbage is called the "Grand Father" of the computer. The First mechanical computer designed by Charles Babbage was called Analytical Engine.

Functions of computer
accepts data processes data produces output stores results Input Processing Output Storage

Input (Data): Input is the raw information entered into a computer from the input devices. It is the collection of letters, numbers, images etc. Process:

Process is the operation of data as per given instruction. It is totally internal process of the computer system. Output: Output is the processed data given by computer after data processing. Output is also called as Result. Storage: The results are saved in the storage devices (memory) for the future use.

Computers can be classified based on their principles of operation or on their configuration (size, speed of doing computation and storage capacity).

Types of Computers based on Principles of Operation

There are three different types of computers according to the principles of operation. Those three types of computers are

Analog Computers Digital Computers Hybrid Computers

Analog Computers Analog Computer is a computing device that works on continuous range of values. The results given by the analog computers will only be approximate since they deal with quantities that vary continuously. It generally deals with physical variables such as voltage, pressure, temperature, speed, etc. Digital Computers On the other hand a digital computer operates on digital data such as numbers. It uses binary number system in which there are only two digits 0 and 1. Each one is called a bit. The digital computer is designed using digital circuits in which there are two levels for an input or output signal. These two levels are known as logic 0 and logic 1. Digital Computers can give more accurate and faster results. Digital computer is well suited for solving complex problems in engineering and technology. Hence digital computers have an increasing use in the field of design, research and data processing. Based on the purpose, Digital computers can be further classified as,

General Purpose Computers Special Purpose Computers

Special purpose computer is one that is built for a specific application. General purpose computers are used for any type of applications. They can store different programs and do the jobs as per the instructions specified on those programs. Hybrid Computers A hybrid computer combines the desirable features of analog and digital computers. It is mostly used for automatic operations of complicated physical processes and machines. Now-a-days analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog converters are used for transforming the data into suitable form for either type of computation.

For example, in hospitals ICU, analog devices might measure the patients temperature, blood pressure and other vital signs. These measurements which are in analog might then be converted into numbers and supplied to digital components in the system. These components are used to monitor the patients vital sign and send signals if any abnormal readings are detected. Hybrid computers are mainly used for specialized tasks.

Types of Computers based on Configuration

There are four different types of computers when we classify them based on their performance and capacity. The four types are

Super Computers Mainframe Computers Mini Computers Micro Computers

Super Computers Supercomputers are the fastest and most expensive computers in the World. These computers can process billions of instructions per second. Normally, they will be used for applications which require intensive numerical computations such as stock analysis, weather forecasting etc. Other uses of supercomputers are scientific simulations, nuclear energy research, electronic design, and analysis of geological data (e.g. in petrochemical prospecting). The best known super

computer manufacturer is Cray Research. Some of the "traditional" companies which produce super computers are Cray, IBM and Hewlett-Packard.

Mainframe Computers Mainframe computers can also process data at very high speeds (hundreds of million instructions per second) and they are also quite expensive. Normally, they are used in banking, airlines and railways etc. for their applications.

Mini Computers Mini computers are lower to mainframe computers in terms of speed and storage capacity. They are also less expensive than mainframe computers. Some of the features of mainframes will not be available in mini computers. Hence, their performance also will be less than that of mainframes.

Micro Computers The invention of microprocessor (single chip CPU) gave birth to the much cheaper microcomputers. They are further classified into

Desktop Computers Laptop Computers Handheld Computers(PDAs)

Desktop Computers Today the Desktop computers are the most popular computer systems. These desktop computers are also known as personal computers or simply PCs. They are usually easier to use and more affordable. They are normally intended for individual users for their word processing and other small application requirements.

Laptop Computers Laptop computers are portable computers. They are lightweight computers with a thin screen. They are also called as notebook computers because of their small size. They can operate on batteries and hence are very popular with travelers. The screen folds down onto the keyboard when not in use.

Handheld Computers Handheld computers or Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) are pen-based and also batterypowered. They are small and can be carried anywhere. They use a pen like stylus and accept handwritten input directly on the screen. They are not as powerful as desktops or laptops but they are used for scheduling appointments, storing addresses and playing games. They have touch screens which we use with a finger or a stylus.

Computer is an electronic device used in almost every field even where it is most unexpected. That is why this age is called as the era of IT. And now we cannot imagine a world without computers. Computer has become very important nowadays because it is very much accurate, fast and can accomplish many tasks easily. Otherwise to complete those tasks manually much more time is required. It can do very big calculations in just a fraction of a second. Moreover it can store huge amount of data in it. The importance of computer in different field is discussed below. BANKS Almost every bank is using computers to keep the record of all the money transaction and other calculations. Moreover it provides speed, convenience and security. COMMUNICATION Communication is another important aspect of computer and has become very easy through internet and email. Computer communicates using telephone lines and modems. Through email we can send messages to anybody in any part of the world in just a second while if we write letter then it will reach in some days. So the internet has made the earth a global village and above all saves time. This would not be possible without computers. BUSINESS Computer has now become an integral part of corporate life. They can do business transactions very easily and accurately and keep the record of all the profit and loss. Today computers can be found in every store, supermarkets, restaurants, offices etc. special software is used in these computers to calculate the huge bills within seconds. MEDICAL SCIENCE Diseases can be easily diagnosed with the help of computer and can also know about its cure. Many machines use computer which allows the doctor to view the different organs of our body like lungs, heart, kidneys etc. EDUCATION Today computer has become an important part of education because we are using computers in every field and without the knowledge of computer we cannot get job and perform well in it. So computers can secure better jobs prospects. Knowledge about computer is must in this time.

TRAVEL AND TICKETING Computers do all the work of plane and train reservation. It shows the data for vacant and reserved seats and also saves the record for reservation. WEATHER PREDICTIONS Weather predictions are also possible by the experts using supercomputers. SPORTS It is also used for umpiring decisions. Many times the umpire has to go for the decision of third umpire in which the recording is seen again on the computer and finally reaches to the accurate and fair decision. DAILY LIFE We operate washing machines, microwave oven and many other products using software. Moreover we can store all the information about our important work, appointments schedules and list of contacts. So we can say that today computer is playing very important role in our lives. Now is the time when we cannot imagine the world without computers. And this technology is advancing both in industry and home.

Advantages and disadvantages of using a computer

Advantages: 1. They allow people across the globe to communicate with each other, no matter at what time, via the use of email. 2. They allow people to look up information directly, instead of the use of searching through books. 3. Back-up copies of work can be made easily, without having to re-write everything. 4. People can work from home, and spend more time with their families because of this. 5. It has much more computing and calculating power then an ordinary human. Disadvantages: 1. It allows the old way of learning (ex: handwriting) to be forgotten 2. Illegal downloading can ruin businesses

3. Details such as bank records can be hacked into, and thus your personal information is no longer as safe as it used to be. 4. It can have negative effects on your social life and interactions with other people if you do not maintain the balance between time online and offline. 5. It may have a negative effect on your eyesight due to radiation.

The characteristics of computers that have made them so powerful and universally useful are speed, accuracy, diligence, versatility and storage capacity. Speed Computers work at an incredible speed. A powerful computer is capable of performing about 3-4 million simple instructions per second. Accuracy In addition to being fast, computers are also accurate. Errors that may occur can almost always be attributed to human error (inaccurate data, poorly designed system or faulty instructions/programs written by the programmer) Diligence Unlike human beings, computers are highly consistent. They do not suffer from human traits of boredom and tiredness resulting in lack of concentration. Computers, therefore, are better than human beings in performing voluminous and repetitive jobs. Versatility Computers are versatile machines and are capable of performing any task as long as it can be broken down into a series of logical steps. The presence of computers can be seen in almost every sphere Railway/Air reservation, Banks, Hotels, Weather forecasting and many more.

Storage Capacity Todays computers can store large volumes of data. If a piece of information is recorded (or stored) in the computer, then it can never be forgotten and can be retrieved almost instantaneously.