Characteristics of Computers

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Man developed computers so that it could perform operations such as calculation and data processing or entertainment. Today, computers are everywhere, in our offices, homes, appliances, automobiles etc. the list is endless and they perform different types of task from simple to complex. Much of the world’s infrastructure runs on computers, and the computers have profoundly changed our lives, mostly for the better. Let us discuss some of the characteristics of a computer, which make it an essential part of every emerging technology and such a desirable tool for humans.
  1. Speed The computer can process data very fast, at the rate of millions of instructions per second (MIPS). Some calculations that would have taken hours and days to complete can be done in few seconds using a computer. For example, calculating and generating salary slips of thousands of employees of a company or organization, weather forecasting that requires analysis of a large amount of data related to temperature, pressure and humidity of various places, etc.
  2. Accuracy Computer provides a high degree of accuracy. The level of accuracy depends on the instructions given to it, because computers only do what we instruct them to do. The computer only makes error due to inaccurate instructions or data given to it by humans. Given faulty instructions for processing data automatically lead to faulty results. The faulty results due to faulty instructions or incorrect input data are known as GIGO, that is, Garbage in Garbage Out.
  3. Diligence The computer does not get tired or fatigued when used for a longer period of time. It can perform long and complex calculations with the same speed and accuracy from the start till the end.
  4. Storage Capability Large volumes of data and information can be stored in the computer and also retrieved whenever required. A limited amount of data can be stored, temporarily, in the primary memory. Secondary storage devices like Hard disk drive and compact disc can store a large amount of data permanently.
  5. Versatility The computer is versatile in nature. It can perform different types of tasks with ease. At one moment you can use the computer to prepare a letter and in the next moment you may play music or print a document.
  6. Resource Sharing computer used to be an isolated machine. With the tremendous growth in computer technologies, today’s computers have the capability to connect with each other which is called Computer Networking. This has made the sharing of costly resources like printers and other devices possible. Apart from device sharing, data and information can also be shared among groups of computers, thus creating a large information and knowledge base like the World Wide Web (www) which can be accessed through the Internet the largest network.

Computers have several limitations too, it executes instructions as specified by the user and does not take its own decisions. Computer can only perform tasks that it has been programmed to do. These instructions are called Programs and they are coded by computer scientist called Programmers or Developers.

 

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