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The computer are used today for an almost unlimited range of applications.

However,
irrespective of the application for which a computer is used we can identify a few basic
functions that are performed by all computers> All the computer applications are make
use of these basic function of computers in different ways and combinations. There are
basically for basic functions of computers - input, storage, processing and output. These
are described below:

1 Input: Receiving or accepting information from outside sources. The most


common way of performing this function is through the information entered through
the keyboard and the click of mouse. Of course there are many other type of devices
for receiving such information - for example, the web cam. Computers are also able
to receive information stored in other devices like DVD disks and pen drives.
Computers are also able to receive information from other computers and similar
devices. When we use computers for automatic control of machines and processes,
computers are also receive information directly from such equipments and processes.
2 Storage: Store information in the computer. The memory is stored in computer in
in several different ways depending on how the information is used. For simplicity we
will classify in two broad categories. First is the memory in the central processing
unit of the computer, and second is the auxiliary memory. The auxiliary memory
includes devices such as fixed hard drives. The information stored in computer can
also be divided broadly used in two categories. The user data and the instructions
used for internal operation and processing in the compute. These instruction are what
we call computer programs or software.
3 Processing: This is really the core of computer operation. The computer processes
the data that is fed to the computer by various means and the data already contained
in internal memory to produce the results that is the core of all computer application.
4 Output: The results of the processing are made available for use by any user or
other devices. The most common ways of producing such outputs are through
computer monitor, speakers, and printers. When a computer is connected to other
devices, including through Internet, this output is in the form of electrical pulses. The
output data can also be recorded on to an external recording medium such as a DVD
disk.

Today, the computer is used in every field and has made our day to day tasks very easy
but there are some advantages and disadvantages of computers.
Advantages of Computer

Computer has made a very vital impact on society. It has changed the way of life. The use
of computer technology has affected every field of life. People are using computers to
perform different tasks quickly and easily. The use of computers makes different task
easier. It also saves time and effort and reduces the overall cost to complete a particular
task.

Many organizations are using computers for keeping the records of their customers.
Banks are using computers for maintaining accounts and managing financial transactions.
The banks are also providing the facility of online banking. The customers can check
their account balance from using the internet. They can also make financial transaction
online. The transactions are handled easily and quickly with computerized systems.

See Also: What is a Computer?

People are using computers for paying their bills, managing their home budgets or simply
having some break and watching a movie, listening to songs or playing computer games.
Online services like skype or social media websites are used for communication and
information sharing purposes.

Computer can be used as a great educational tool. Students can have access to all sort of
information on the internet. Some great websites like Wikipedia, Khan’s Academy, Code
Academy, Byte-Notes provides free resources for students & professionals.

Moreover, the computer is being used in every field of life such as medical, business,
industry, airline and weather forecasting.
Disadvantages of computer

The use of computer has also created some problems in society which are as follows.
Unemployment

Different tasks are performed automatically by using computers. It reduces the need of
people and increases unemployment in society.
Wastage of time and energy

Many people use computers without positive purpose. They play games and chat for a
long period of time. It causes wastage of time and energy. Young generation is now
spending more time on the social media websites like Facebook, Twitter etc or texting
their friends all night through smartphones which is bad for both studies and their health.
And it also has adverse effects on the social life.
Data Security

The data stored on a computer can be accessed by unauthorized persons through


networks. It has created serious problems for the data security.
Computer Crimes

People use the computer for negative activities. They hack the credit card numbers of the
people and misuse them or they can steal important data from big organizations.
Privacy violation

The computers are used to store personal data of the people. The privacy of a person can
be violated if the personal and confidential records are not protected properly.
Health risks

The improper and prolonged use of computer can results in injuries or disorders of hands,
wrists, elbows, eyes, necks and back. The users can avoid health risks by using the
computer in proper position. They must also take regular breaks while using the computer
for longer period of time. It is recommended to take a couple of minutes break after 30
minutes of computer usage.
Impact on Environment

The computer manufacturing processes and computer waste are polluting the
environment. The wasted parts of computer can release dangerous toxic materials. Green
computer is a method to reduce the electricity consumed and environmental waste
generated when using a computer. It includes recycling and regulating manufacturing
processes. The used computers must be donated or disposed off properly.

The history of computer development is often in reference to the differentgenerations of


computing devices ᄃ. Each of the five generations of computers is characterized by a
major technological development that fundamentally changed the way computers operate.
Most developments resulted in increasingly smaller, cheaper, more powerful and more
efficient computing devices.
First Generation (1940-1956) Vacuum Tubes
The first computers used vacuum tubes for circuitry and magnetic drums ᄃ for memory ᄃ,
and were often enormous, taking up entire rooms. They were very expensive to operate
and in addition to using a great deal of electricity, generated a lot of heat, which was often
the cause of malfunctions.
First generation computers relied on machine language ᄃ, the lowest-level programming
language understood by computers, to perform operations, and they could only solve one
problem at a time. Input was based on punched cards and paper tape, and output was
displayed on printouts.
The UNIVAC and ENIAC ᄃ computers are examples of first-generation computing
devices. The UNIVAC was the first commercial computer delivered to a business client,
the U.S. Census Bureau in 1951.

A UNIVAC
computer at the
Census Bureau.
Image Source:
United States Census
Bureau ᄃ
Second Generation
(1956-1963)
Transistors
Transistors ᄃ
replaced vacuum
tubes and ushered in
the second generation of computers. The transistor was invented in 1947 but did not see
widespread use in computers until the late 1950s. The transistor was far superior to the
vacuum tube, allowing computers to become smaller, faster, cheaper, more energy-
efficient and more reliable than their first-generation predecessors. Though the transistor
still generated a great deal of heat that subjected the computer to damage, it was a vast
improvement over the vacuum tube. Second-generation computers still relied on punched
cards for input and printouts for output.
Second-generation computers moved from cryptic binary ᄃ machine language to
symbolic, or assembly ᄃ, languages, which allowed programmers to specify instructions
in words. High-level programming languages ᄃ were also being developed at this time,
such as early versions of COBOL ᄃ and FORTRAN ᄃ. These were also the first
computers that stored their instructions in their memory, which moved from a magnetic
drum to magnetic core technology.
The first computers of this generation were developed for the atomic energy industry.
Third Generation (1964-1971) Integrated Circuits
The development of the integrated circuit ᄃ was the hallmark of the third generation of
computers. Transistors were miniaturized and placed on silicon ᄃ chips ᄃ, called
semiconductors ᄃ, which drastically increased the speed and efficiency of computers.
Instead of punched cards and printouts, users interacted with third generation computers
through keyboards ᄃ andmonitors ᄃ and interfaced ᄃ with an operating system ᄃ, which
allowed the device to run many different applications ᄃ at one time with a central
program that monitored the memory. Computers for the first time became accessible to a
mass audience because they were smaller and cheaper than their predecessors.
Fourth Generation (1971-Present) Microprocessors
The microprocessor ᄃ brought the fourth generation of computers, as thousands of
integrated circuits were built onto a single silicon chip. What in the first generation filled
an entire room could now fit in the palm of the hand. The Intel 4004 chip, developed in
1971, located all the components of the computer—from the central processing unit ᄃ and
memory to input/output controls—on a single chip.
In 1981 IBM ᄃ introduced its first computer for the home user, and in 1984 Apple ᄃ
introduced the Macintosh. Microprocessors also moved out of the realm of desktop
computers and into many areas of life as more and more everyday products began to use
microprocessors.
As these small computers became more powerful, they could be linked together to form
networks, which eventually led to the development of the Internet. Fourth generation
computers also saw the development ofGUIs ᄃ, the mouse ᄃ and handheld ᄃ devices.
Fifth Generation (Present and Beyond) Artificial Intelligence
Fifth generation computing devices, based on artificial intelligence ᄃ, are still in
development, though there are some applications, such as voice recognition ᄃ, that are
being used today. The use of parallel processing ᄃ and superconductors is helping to make
artificial intelligence a reality. Quantum computation ᄃ and molecular andnanotechnology
ᄃ will radically change the face of computers in years to come. The goal of fifth-
generation computing is to develop devices that respond to natural language ᄃ input and
are capable of learning and self-organization
When discussing data quality, we need to understand exactly what we mean by the word
data. Often, the words information and dataare used interchangeably, yet they are not the
same thing.

Data is, or are (depending on your knowledge of Latin), fundamental to business


intelligence. But how do we recognise data as data – and why is bad data such a
pernicious entity?

First Things First: Data vs Information

There’s a really simple way to understand the difference between data and information.
When we understand the primary function of the item we are looking at, we quickly see
the distinction between the two.

Here’s a simple way to tell one from the other:

 Computers need data. Humans need information.


 Data is a building block. Information gives meaning and context.
In essence, data is raw. It has not been shaped, processed or interpreted. It is a series of 1s
and zeros that humans would not be able to read (and nor would they want to). It is
disorganised and unfriendly.

Once data has been processed and turned into information, it becomes palatable to human
readers. It takes on context and structure. It becomes useful for businesses to make
decisions, and it forms the basis of progress.

While the bigger picture is slightly more complex, this gets us part way towards
understanding what data means.