Exercise 1. Try to guess the missing words. Then listen and fill in the blanks.
Today’s desktop __________ computers, or PCs, are many times more powerful than the huge, million-dollar business ________ of the 1960s and 1970s. Most PCs can ________ from 150 to 400 million operations per second, and some can even perform more than 500 million. These computers are used not only for household __________ and personal entertainment, but also for most of the automated tasks required by small businesses, including word __________, generating mailing lists, tracking inventory, and calculating accounting _________. The fastest desktop computers are called _________, and they are generally used for scientific, engineering, or advanced business ___________.
Servers are fast computers that have greater data processing _________ than most PCs and workstations and can be used simultaneously by many ________. Often several PCs and workstations are connected to a server via a local area _________ (LAN). The server controls resources that are shared by the people _________ at the PCs and workstations. An example of a shared resource is a large collection of information called a ________.
Mainframes are large, extremely fast, multi-user computers that often contain complex arrays of ___________, each designed to perform a specific function. Because they can handle huge databases, simultaneously accommodate scores of users, and perform complex mathematical operations, they are the mainstay of industry, research, and university computing centers.
The speed and power of __________, the fastest class of computer, are almost beyond human comprehension, and their capabilities are continually being _________. One of the most sophisticated of these machines can theoretically perform 32 billion _________ per second, can store 256 billion characters in its memory, and can do the work of thousands of PCs. Supercomputers attain these speeds through the use of several advanced engineering ________. For example, critical circuitry is supercooled to nearly absolute _______ so that electrons can move at the speed of light, and many processing units are linked in such a way that they can all work on a single problem _________. Because these computers can cost millions of dollars, they are used primarily by government _________ and large research centers.
Computer development is rapidly progressing at both the high and the low ends of the computing spectrum. On the high end, by linking _________ networks of computers and programming them to use a language called Linda, scientists employ a _________ called parallel processing, in which a problem is broken down into smaller subproblems that are then distributed among the networked computers. A goal of this technology is the creation of a machine that could perform a trillion _________ per second, a measure known as a teraflop. At the other end of the spectrum, computer companies are developing small, handheld personal digital assistants (PDAs). For example, a PDA called the Palm Pilot lets _______ use a pen to input handwritten information through a touch-sensitive screen and to send mail and faxes to other computers. Researchers are currently developing microchips called digital signal processors (DSPs) to enable computers to recognize and interpret human _______. This development, which will permit people in all professions to use a computer quickly and easily, promises to lead to a revolution in the way humans communicate and transfer _________.
Exercise 2. Answer the following questions.
1. What type of computers is the most common nowadays?
2. What is the speed of modern computers?
3. What is parallel processing used for?
4. Is any type of a vacuum tube applied in contemporary computers?
5. Which modern technologies are applied to the most powerful computers?
6. What do you think is the most important use of computers today?
7. What type of input devices is more convenient: keyboard or touch-sensitive screen?
Exercise 3. Use these words and their combinations to make sentences:
to supercool, DSP, PDA, programming language, to network, flop, simultaneously, handheld, to interpret, handwritten information.