What is Computer?

A computer is an electronic data processing device, which accepts and stores data input, processes the data input, and generates the output in a required format.

Functionalities of a Computer

If we look at it in a very broad sense, any digital computer carries out the
following five functions:
 Step 1 - Takes data as input.
 Step 2 - Stores the data/instructions in its memory and uses them as
 Step 3 - Processes the data and converts it into useful information.
 Step 4 - Generates the output.
 Step 5 - Controls all the above four steps.

Characteristics of Computers

  • Automatic Given a job, computer can work on it automatically without human interventions.
  • Speed: Computer can perform data processing jobs very fast, usually measured in microseconds (10-6), nanoseconds (10-9), and picoseconds (10-12).
  • Accuracy: Accuracy of a computer is consistently high and the degree of its accuracy depends upon its design. Computer errors caused due to incorrect input data or unreliable programs are often referred to as Garbage- In-Garbage-Out (GIGO).
  • Diligence: Computer is free from monotony, tiredness, and lack of concentration. It can continuously work for hours without creating any error and without grumbling.
  • Versatility: Computer is capable of performing almost any task, if the task can be reduced to a finite series of logical steps.
  • Power of Remembering: Computer can store and recall any amount of information because of its secondary storage capability. It forgets or looses certain information only when it is asked to do so.
  • No I.Q.: A computer does only what it is programmed to do. It cannot take its own decision in this regard.
  • No Feelings: Computers are devoid of emotions. Their judgment is based on the instructions given to them in the form of programs that are written by us (human beings).

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