Computer – Definition, Components, Classification & Uses -

Computer – Definition, Components, Classification & Uses

1) Computer – Definition

A computer is a machine or device combination of hardware and software that performs processes, calculations, operations based on the instructions given by a software or hardware installed in it. It has the capability to solve various problems, store data in its memory, retrieve and process.

The name computer came from the Latin word ‘Computare‘ that means to count. So, more accurately we can say that a computer means a device which performs various mathematical and logical calculations.

You can use a computer for a variety of purposes such as running applications, browsing the web, writing documents, sending emails, drawing pictures, watching videos, listening songs, recording, doing official work, playing games and much more.

2) Computer – Components

A computer has various components and peripherals that help to calculate faster and efficient than humans. It follows instructions sent by the various software programs and performs specific tasks with its hardware. There are mainly two major types of components:

A. Software

It is the virtual or programming part of a computer that instructs, operates or controls hardware components and perform desired tasks. Google Chrome is an example of a software that helps to browse the web.

B. Hardware

It is the physical part of a computer which makes the computer to perform tasks instructed by software. Examples are the motherboard, processor, monitor, storage devices, peripheral devices like mouse, keyboard.

3) Computer – Types and Their Uses

When we hear the word computer, usually think of personal computers like desktops or laptops. There are different types of Computer. Every day we knowingly or unknowingly uses a computer when we withdraw cash from an ATM, scan bought products at stores, or use a calculator, using mobile phones.

Computers are classified based on computing speed, physical size, mobility, and other factors. The table below describes the classification of computers by various factors. After that, we also discuss some basic types of computers.

Classification of Computers
Classes by sizeClasses by functionClasses by usageClassed by Generation of Computer Technology
    • Microcomputers (personal computers)
    • Minicomputers (midrange computers)
    • Mainframe computers
  • Supercomputers
    • Servers
    • Terminal servers
    • Virtual machines
    • Workstations
    • Information appliances
  • Embedded computers
  • Public computer
  • Personal computer
  • Shared computer
  • Display computer
  • First generation computers
  • Second generation computers
  • Third generation computers

A. Desktop Computers

As the name suggests generally we keep it on top of the desk. We use such type of computers in many different places like the office, home, school. This type of computers has several different components such as CPU, monitor, keyboard, mouse, disk drive.

B. Laptop or Notebook Computers

Another type of computer that is known to you as a laptop computer or just a laptop. Laptops are battery-powered computers that are more portable than the desktop, which you can carry in your workplace or at the workplace. It has a screen, touchpad, keyboard.

C. Tablet Computers

Tablet computer or tablet is a handheld computer that is more portable than laptops. It uses a touch-sensitive screen for typing and navigating tabs instead of keyboard and mouse. As an example of a tablet computer, we can talk about the iPad.

D. Servers

A server controls or delivers information among other computers connected in a network. There are various types of servers like Telecommunication Servers, Web servers, Local Servers. For example, you are now browsing this website which is the output data or information logically processed from files placed on a web server.

E. Mainframe Computers

Mainframe Computers can handle and process a very large amount of data quickly and provide service to multiple users. This type of computers suitable for large corporations, government institutions, banking, and financial sectors. The term MIPS (Million Instructions Per Second) represents the processing and handling capacity of mainframe computers.

F. Supercomputers

The supercomputer is the most expensive and powerful among all types of computers. It is powerful in terms of its computation power, memory size, processor speed, response time. It performs most calculative and intense tasks such as complex scientific calculations, atomic researches, weather forecasting. The term FLOPS (Floating Point Operations Per Second) represents the computation power of supercomputers.

G. Other Types of Computers

Not only a desktop or a laptop, but most of today’s electronics gadgets are also computers. Following are the examples:

I – TVs

There are many apps installed on modern TVs that allow you to access various types of online contents, websites. For example, you can stream and watch videos directly from the Internet or YouTube on your TV.

II – Smartphones, Smart Books, PDAs, and Palmtops

We are all familiar with smartphones. It has the ability to many things which a computer do like browsing websites, playing games, reading and making documents, checking emails, doing Officeworks.

III – Wearables or Body-borne Computers

Small computing devices like smartwatch, fitness tracker are another category of computer technology. These devices are designed to wear on wrist or arm. This type of device has processor and programming installed through which it does specific computation work like connecting with a mobile phone in the pocket, monitoring fitness-related metrics such as distance walked or run, amount of calorie burn, quality sleep, heartbeat pulse rate tracking.

IV – Game consoles

A game console is a specialized and fixed type of computers for gaming purposes such that playing video games on your monitor, TV.

V- Programmable Calculator

This type of computer we generally use in mathematics related calculations like solving angles, solving quadratic equations, etc.

VI – Carputers

A carputer is a type specially built for various purposes (like measuring fuel level, the temperature of carburetors) available in a car. This type of devices run with low power supply, compact size, built to connect certain standard devices like Wifi, USB, Bluetooth.

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