Basics of Computers Introduction
You must have used, seen or read about computers to be a modern-day kid. That is because they are an important part of daily life. Everywhere computers are available, whether it's schools, banks, shops, railway stations , hospitals or your own house, making our jobs simpler and quicker.
We need to learn what they are and how they function, since they are such important parts of our lives. Let us begin by formally defining the term computer.
Computer's literal meaning is a measurable computer. Modern computers can do far more than measure though. Computer is an electronic device that receives input, stores or processes the input according to user instructions and results indicate in the desired format.
Computer input is called data, and information is called the output obtained after processing it, based on user instructions. Data are called the raw facts and figures which can be processed using arithmetic and logical operations to obtain information.
The processes related to data are of two types−
- Arithmetic operations − Definitions include functions such as inclusion, subtraction, square root, differentials, etc.
- Logical operations − Sources include operations in contrast such as greater than, lesser than, equivalent to, opposite, etc.
The main computational parts are as follows−
- Input Unit − Control unit is named devices such as the keyboard and mouse and are used to enter data and instructions into the computer.
- Output Unit − Devices such as printer and visual display unit which are used in the specified format to provide user details are named output unit.
- Control Unit − As the name suggests, this device controls all computer functions. All devices or computer parts interact with one another through the control unit.
- Arithmetic Logic Unit − This is the computer's brain, where all arithmetic and logical operations are performed.
- Memory − The memory stores all input data, instructions and data interim to the processes. There are two types of memory-main memory and secondary memory. Primary memory resides within the CPU while secondary memory resides outside it.
Control unit, arithmetic logic unit, and memory are called the CPU or central processing unit. The hardware components of a computer are computing instruments such as keyboard , mouse, printer, etc. that we can see and touch. The set of instructions or programs that use those hardware parts to make the computer function is called software. We can't see anything, or adjust it. Both hardware and software are required for a computer to work.
Characteristics of Computer
To explain why computers are an significant part of our lives, let's look at some of its functionality.
- Speed − A computer will normally perform 3-4 million instructions per second.
- Accuracy − Computers show a strong degree of accuracy. Errors that may occur are usually due to inaccurate data, incorrect instructions or chip bugs – all human errors.
- Reliability − Computers will continuously do the same type of work without throwing up errors due to tiredness or boredom, which is quite normal in humans.
- Versatility − Computers can do a wide range of work from data entry and ticket booking to complex mathematical calculations and astronomical continuous observations. If you can provide appropriate instructions to enter the required details, the processing will be performed by the computer.
- Storage Capacity − Computers can store extremely significant amounts of data at a fraction of traditional file storage costs. The data is therefore free from regular paper-associated wear and tear.
Advantages of Using Computer
Now that we are aware of computer characteristics, we can see the advantages that computers offer.
- Computers can perform the same task repeatedly with the same accuracy.
- Don't get tired or bored by computers.
- Computers can take on routine tasks while they release human resources for intelligent functions.
Disadvantages of Using Computer
Despite so many benefits, computers have some of their own drawbacks−
- Computers don't have intelligence; they blindly follow the instructions without considering the result.
- Daily electrical supply is required to make computers work, which may prove difficult anywhere, mainly in developing nations.
Starting a computer or device built into the computer is called booting. There are two steps to boot −
- Switching to power
- Loading operating system to main memory of your computer
- Keeping all applications ready in case the user needs it
BIOS or Simple Input Output Device is the first program or series of instructions that operate when the computer is switched on. BIOS is a firmware, this is a piece of software built permanently into the hardware.
If a system is already running but needs to be restarted, then rebooting is called. When a software or hardware has been installed or the system is unusually slow, rebooting may be required.
There are two types of booting−
- Cold Booting − This is called cold booting when the system is started by switching on the power supply. The next move towards cold booting is BIOS ready.
- Warm Booting − It is called warm booting because the system is still operating and wants to reset or reboot. Booting warm is faster than booting cold, because BIOS is not reloaded.