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Evolution Of Computers Essay

9431 words - 38 pages

CHAPTER 1:
INTRODUCTION

In the beginning of civilization, people used fingers and pebbles for computing purposes. In fact, the word 'digit us' in Latin actually means 'finger' and 'calculus' means 'pebble'. This gives a clue into the origin of early computing concepts. With the growth of civilization, the computing needs also grew. The need for a mechanism to perform lengthy calculations led to the invention of the first calculator and then the computers.
The term 'computer' is derived from the word 'compute', which means to calculate. A computer is an electronic machine, devised for performing calculations and controlling operations that can be expressed either in logical or numerical ...view middle of the document...

In a few seconds, a computer can perform a huge task that a normal human being may take days or even years to complete. The speed of a computer is measured in megahertz (MHz), that is, one million instructions per second.
* Accuracy: Besides being efficient, the computers are also very accurate. The level of accuracy depends on the instructions and the type of machines being used. Since we know that the computer is capable of doing only what it is instructed to do, faulty instructions for processing the data automatically lead to faulty results. The faulty results due to faulty instructions or incorrect input data are known as GIGO, that is, garbage in garbage out.
* Reliability: Generally, reliability is the measurement of the performance of a computer, which is measured against some predetermined standard for operation without any failure. The major reason behind the reliability of the computers is that, at hardware level, it does not require any human intervention between its processing operations. Moreover, computers have built-in diagnostic capabilities, which help in continuous monitoring of the system.
* Storage Capability: Computers can store large amounts of data and it can recall the required information almost instantaneously. The memory of the computer is relatively small and it can hold only a certain amount of information. Therefore, the data are stored on storage devices such as magnetic tape or disks. The data from these devices can be accessed and brought into the main memory of the computer, as and when required, for processing.
* Versatility: Computers are quite versatile in nature. They can perform multiple tasks simultaneously with equal ease. For example, at one moment it can be used to prepare a letter, at the other moment it can be used to play music and in between one can print a document as well. All this work is possible by changing the program (sequence of instructions for computers).
* Diligence: Computer, being a machine, does not suffer from the human traits of tiredness and lack of concentration. If four million calculations have to be performed, then the computer will perform the last four-millionth calculation with the same accuracy and speed as the first calculation.
* Resource Sharing: In the initial stages of development, computer used to be an isolated machine. With the tremendous growth in computer technologies, today's computers have the capability to connect with each other. This has made the sharing of costly resources like printers possible. Apart from device sharing, data and information can also be shared among groups of computers, thus creating a large information and knowledge base.

Computer has certain limitations also. As a machine, it can perform only what it is programmed to do; nothing more and nothing less. In addition, it needs well-defined instructions to perform any operation. Therefore, computers are unable to give any conclusion without going through...

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