Fundamental of Computer: What is a Computer?

Posted in on February 6, 2017

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Computer is an electronic device which accepts data as input, processes the data as per the instruction of the user and produces data as output. Computer is sometimes reffered as electronic Data processor or Automatic Data processor.


The term data refers to qualitative or quantitative attributes of a variable or set of variables. Data (plural of “datum“) are typically the results of measurements and can be the basis of graphs, images, or observations of a set of variables. Data are often viewed as the lowest level of abstraction from which information and then knowledge are derived. Raw data, i.e. unprocessed data, refers to a collection of numbers, characters, images or other outputs from devices that collect information to convert physical quantities into symbols.

Information in its most restricted technical sense is an ordered sequence of symbols that record or transmit a message. It can be recorded as signs, or conveyed as signals by waves. Information is any kind of event that affects the state of a dynamic system. As a concept, however, information has numerous meanings. Moreover, the concept of information is closely related to notions of constraint, communication, control, data, form, instruction, knowledge, meaning, mental stimulus, pattern, perception, representation, and especially entropy.



Computer works internally in a very faster manner. The speed of today’s computer is measured in million instructions per second (MIPS). The time required to execute one instruction takes nearly 10­­9 second i.e. nano second. This indicates at what speed it works. Hence any work can be done very fast.


Computer performs any job entrusted accurately. Accuracy factor is very high.


Computer works automatically. Once data and program is fed to the computer it works sequentially one after the other automatically. Human intervention is not necessary for every operation.


Computer can store enormous data in its memory. With use of new technology the capacity is increasing day by day.


Computer is a versatile machine. It is not fixed to any particular use of application. It can cater to broad range of application. It can be used in all fields of life starting from space research to domestic house.


Computer never becomes tired like human being. Even after working a long hours it will perform all the work with all accuracy and efficiency.


Computers are fully reliable machine. In fact it never gives error. All error that comes out is because of human error.


Computer is a very fast, accurate and reliable machine. It is no more considered as a machine for doing scientific and engineering calculations. It is used in all walks of life. Today computers are used in:

  • Defense set up.
  • Design, testing, monitoring in the space program.
  • Helps in handling and manipulating voluminous data in business organization.
  • Designing new machines and equipments.
  • Scientific and engineering calculations.
  • Medical Diagnosis.
  • Hospital management.
  • Educational Aids.
  • Railway, Bus and Airway reservation system.
  • Banking Transaction.
  • Films and TV programs creating special Audio and Video effect.



The physical component of comuter is called Hardware.


A set of program which instructs the Hardware to perform a job is called software. Without software hardware cannot work. There are two types of software available : System Software and Application Software.

System Software:

A set of programs written for managing the hardware for helping the programmers or users to use the computer. It is machine dependent. This software controls all activities of user programs and always makes optimum use of computer resources. Examples of system software is operating system, system utilities, system security monitors, compliers, interpreters etc.

Application Software:

This software is normally related to different types of applications. It may be General  purpose application programs like word processor, spreadsheets or Application specific programs such as pay roll, student information system, Railway reservation system etc. These programs are written by the users using some high level languages.


A program is nothing but a set of instructions in computer understandable language to do a specific job.


Bit                                                       binary digit. It means either 0 or 1.

Nibble                                                4 bits

Bite                                                     8 bits constitute one byte.

Kilo Byte (KB)                                  1024 bytes.

Mega Bytes (MB)                             1024 KB

Giga Bytes (GB)                               1024 MB

Excerpts from Fundamental of Computer, Published By: Indumatee Media, Odisha

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