Types of Computers
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I, Computer: Definition
A computer is a machine that can be programmed to manipulate symbols. Its principal characteristics are:
- It responds to a specific set of instructions in a well-defined manner.
- It can execute a prerecorded list of instructions (a program).
- It can quickly store and retrieve large amounts of data.
Therefore computers can perform complex and repetitive procedures quickly, precisely and reliably. Modern computers are electronic and digital. The actual machinery (wires, transistors, and circuits) is called hardware; the instructions and data are called software. All general-purpose computers require the following hardware components:
- Central processing unit (CPU): The heart of the computer, this is the component that actually executes instructions organized in programs (“software”) which tell the computer what to do.
- Memory (fast, expensive, short-term memory): Enables a computer to store, at least temporarily, data, programs, and intermediate results.