Computer as a means of communication
There exist two fundamentally different types of computers: analog and digital ones. There exist also hybrid types of computers that combine some of the properties of both analog and digital computers. In analog computers problems are solved by considering continuously changing data (electric current, voltage, resistance, pressure). But in practical usage the term "computer" usually refers to digital computers.
A digital computer is a complex system of four fundamentally different elements. What are they? In order to be able to use computers for practice, it is necessary to have elementary knowledge of its construction. Thus, the four main parts of a computer are: a central processing unit, input devices, memory-storage devices, and output devices. These four parts are linked by a communication network, or bus. These physical parts and all their physical components are called hardware.
As for the problem of hardware development, specialists believe that radically new computer designs are absolutely necessary! Almost all of today's computers process information one element at a time. But the problem could be solved much more quickly by the use of a great number of processors simultaneously working on the given task. And there already exists one such design called Thinking Machine. By using several thousand microprocessors the Thinking Machine outperforms many of today's supercomputers.
Without a program a computer is nothing but potential. A computer's operating system is the software. Without a software a computer does not operate.
The hardware and the software systems of a computer work together. Software is often stored in a computer's memory. Most often programs exist independently of the computer. When a software is loaded into a computer it automatically programs the computer to perform a specific task. It may be word processing, managing accounts and others.
Programming of a computer is performed by specialists. Software is written by professionals known as computer programmers. Often programmers in large corporations work in teams, each programmer focusing on a specific problem of a total project.
It should be noted that the hardware developments are dependent on well-written and well-formed software. Software controls the hardware, uses it, and forms an interface between the computer and its user. Nowadays software is becoming more and more user-friendly and easy to use even by non-computer professional users. Some word-processing programs help to solve problems, some game programs are becoming more difficult opponents the more they are played. Thus the term "personal computer" is taking quite a new meaning.
Date: 2015-04-20; view: 1987