In my previous blog i have write about basic concepts of computer. i think all of you see that post. Those who does not see that see my previous post please see the link

http://amienbcafe.blogspot.in/2013/08/study-notes-on-amie-sec-computing-and.html

**WHAT IS A COMPUTER?**

Computer is an electronic
device. As mentioned in the introduction it can do arithmetic calculations
faster.

But as you will see later it does much more than that. It can be compared to a magic box, which serves different purpose to different people. For a common man computer is simply a calculator, which works automatic and quite fast. For a person who knows much about it, computer is a machine capable of solving problems and manipulating data. It accepts data, processes the data by doing some mathematical and logical operations and gives us the desired output.

But as you will see later it does much more than that. It can be compared to a magic box, which serves different purpose to different people. For a common man computer is simply a calculator, which works automatic and quite fast. For a person who knows much about it, computer is a machine capable of solving problems and manipulating data. It accepts data, processes the data by doing some mathematical and logical operations and gives us the desired output.

Therefore, we may define

*computer as a device that transforms data*. Data can be anything like marks obtained by you in various subjects. It can also be name, age, sex, weight, height, etc. of all the students in your class or income, savings, investments, etc., of a country. Computer can be defined in terms of its functions. It can i) accept data ii) store data, iii) process data as desired, and iv) retrieve the stored data as and when required and v) print the result in desired format. You will know more about these functions as you go through the later lessons.**CHARACTERISTICS OF COMPUTER**

Let us identify the major
characteristics of computer. These can be discussed under the headings of
speed, accuracy, diligence, versatility and memory.

**Speed**

As you know computer can work
very fast. It takes only few seconds for calculations that we take hours to
complete. Suppose you are asked to calculate the average monthly income of one
thousand persons in your neighborhood. For this you have to add income from all
sources for all persons on a day to day basis and find out the average for each
one of them. How long will it take for you to do this? One day, two days or one
week? Do you know your small computer can finish this work in few seconds? The
weather forecasting that you see every day on TV is the results of compilation
and analysis of huge amount of data on temperature, humidity, pressure, etc. of
various places on computers. It takes few minutes for the computer to process
this huge amount of data and give the result.

You will be surprised to know
that computer can perform millions (1,000,000) of instructions and even more
per second. Therefore, we determine the speed of computer in terms of
microsecond (10

^{-6}part of a second) or nano-second (10^{-9}part of a second). From this you can imagine how fast your computer performs work.**Accuracy**

Suppose some one calculates
faster but commits a lot of errors in computing. Such result is useless. There
is another aspect. Suppose you want to divide 15 by 7. You may work out up to 2
decimal places and say the dividend is 2.14. I may calculate up to 4 decimal
places and say that the result is 2.1428. Some one else may go up to 9 decimal
places and say the result is 2.142857143. Hence, in addition to speed, the
computer should have accuracy or correctness in computing.

The degree of accuracy of
computer is very high and every calculation is performed with the same
accuracy. The accuracy level is determined on the basis of design of computer.
The errors in computer are due to human and inaccurate data.

**Diligence**

A computer is free from
tiredness, lack of concentration, fatigue, etc. It can work for hours without
creating any error. If millions of calculations are to be performed, a computer
will perform every calculation with the same accuracy. Due to this capability
it overpowers human being in routine type of work.

**Versatility**

It means the capacity to
perform completely different type of work. You may use your computer to prepare
payroll slips. Next moment you may use it for inventory management or to
prepare electric bills.

**Power of Remembering**

Computer has the power of
storing any amount of information or data. Any information can be stored and
recalled as long as you require it, for any numbers of years. It depends
entirely upon you how much data you want to store in a computer and when to
lose or retrieve these data.

**No IQ**

Computer is a dumb machine
and it cannot do any work without instruction from the user. It performs the
instructions at tremendous speed and with accuracy. It is you to decide what
you want to do and in what sequence. So a computer cannot take its own decision
as you can.

**No Feeling**

It does not have feelings or
emotion, taste, knowledge and experience. Thus it does not get tired even after
long hours of work. It does not distinguish between users.

**Storage**

The Computer has an in-built
memory where it can store a large amount of data. You can also store data in
secondary storage devices such as floppies, which can be kept outside your
computer and can be carried to other computers.

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