The popular definition of computers explain computer as an electronic machines that accept data, process it and output the results of the processing for users’ utilization. In this article, you will learn about the meaning of computers, general characteristics of computers and benefits of using computers in an organizations including the different types of computers you need to know.
What Is a Computer?
A computer is any electronic machine which can accept inputs (instructions and data) presented to it in a prescribed format from input devices, carry out some operations (process) on the input automatically, and supply the required results (output) in a specified format on output devices, as information for human decision-making, or as signals to control some other machines or process. This definition shows that Computers’ job is to accept data as input, process the data and output the results (Input – Process – Output).
In the world today, computers do much more than simply compute: supermarket scanners calculate our bills while keeping store inventory, computerized telephone switching centers play traffic cop to millions of calls and keep lines of communication untangled; and automatic teller machines (ATM) let us conduct banking transactions from virtually anywhere in the world. Above all, the computer can store and manipulate large quantities of data at very high speed.
Types and Classes of Computers
Digital Computers are often classified according to their processing power, size and functions. The size of computers varies widely from tiny to huge and is usually dictated by computing requirements.
They are the most powerful, the most expensive, the largest in size and the fastest. They are capable of processing trillions of instructions per second. They tend to be used primarily for scientific applications in weather forecasting, aircraft design, nuclear research, space research, and seismic analysis. Commercially, they are used as “host” processors and large networks that process data from thousands of remote stations.
Mainframe computers process data at very high rates of speed, measured in the millions of instructions per second. They are very expensive, large (often filling an entire room) and costing millions of dollars in some cases. Mainframes are designed for multiple users and process vast amounts of data quickly. Banks, insurance companies, manufacturers, mail-order companies, and airlines are typical users. Mainframes are often ‘servers’– computers that control the networks of computers for large companies.
This type of computer is often used by medium size business organizations for stock control and invoicing. The cost of mini-computer is lower than that of Main-Frame and generally suits the need of medium-sized business. Mini computers are small compare to main frame computer as the processor and peripherals are physically smaller. They possess most of the features found on mainframe computers, but on a more limited scale.
These are the types of computers, which are generally used in colleges and institute for teaching purpose. They are terribly limited in what they can do when compared to the larger models discussed above because they can only be used by one person at a time, they are much slower than the larger computers, and they cannot store nearly as much information, but they are excellent when used in small businesses, homes, and school classrooms. These computers are comparatively inexpensive and easy to use.
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Characteristics of Computers
The computer system as an machine that can solve difficult and different problems, process data, store & retrieve data and perform calculations faster and accurately as compared from humans has number of characteristics. The literal has number of characteristics of computer may be a device which will calculate.
However, modern computers can do tons of calculations. Computer can be defined as a machine which receives input stores it and then process the stored data as per the instructions given by the user of the computer and finally gives the output as required. Computers of all sizes have common characteristics, and the includes:
The Computer is made up of electronic components that operate at electronic speed far more comparable to any other known processing information tool. They provide the processing speed required by all facets of society.
Large storage Capacity
With the use of external storage devices of large sizes and increasingly large memory capacity, huge amount of information can be stored, retrieved and processed electronically.
The computer accuracy is consistently high when compared with other information processing tools. Computers are indeed extremely reliable.
Once a program is stored in the computer’s memory, the individual instructions will require less human intervention for the operation to be performed.
A computer does not suffer from human trait of tiredness, as the computer is ready to perform any job as instructed.
The fact that a computer can be used in any discipline has made it to be popular among other information processing tools. It is a general purpose device. The Computer is Electronic in nature and can process millions of instructions per second. They are productive. The computer is not a Substitute for Human Brain.
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Benefits of Using Computers in your Organizations
Although, not every organizations need computers system for operation unless the computer system can show good value (profit) to the Organization. There’s no good reason for installing computer in your organization if you didn’t see the benefits of using computers in your organization. It is not easy to quantify either benefits or costs absolutely and there are always mitigating circumstances which can invalidate powerful benefit or magnify cost beyond reason. We have outlined below are some of the benefits of using computers in your organization:
1. Communication and productivity
Computer helps the user in better understanding and communication with the other devices. The level of productivity gets automatically doubled as the computer can done the work at very fast.
Computers help increase user productivity, and users become more productive at everything you do on the software running on the computer with a good understanding.
2. It deal with large volumes of transaction
One of the benefits of using computers in your organization is how computers deal with increased volumes of transaction. A reasonably well-prepared data processing computer system allows the clerical staff to deal with a significantly greater volume of work. With the aid of computer staff can input via input devices like keyboard, mouse etc which is quicker than via most manual systems, the computer does the arithmetic instantly.
3. Computer can work rapidly
Computer can work rapidly, tirelessly, obediently and almost never make mistakes. It can take over boring and routine jobs, freeing staff to concentrate on other things’ and this as a result will give a better working conditions for an organizational staff.
4. Better management of information
The better management of information is one of the important benefits of using computers in your organization. Using flexible software in the form of Database Management Systems (DBMS) enables management to look at stored information in files. The computer has an in-built memory where it can store an outsized amount of knowledge . You can also store data in auxiliary storage devices.
5. Costs control
By identifying, through their DBMS, where costs are at variance with budgeted figures, action can be taken much more quickly than was ever possible with a manual system. The cost in question can range through stocks, overtime, overheads, postages, cash inflows and outflows, deposits and withdrawals etc.
6. Faster results
Some companies have found that month-end figures can be produced at the end of the last day of the month once a computer system is functioning where previously it was about four weeks after end of month. Any routine operation, such as producing accounts can be done more quickly and more accurately by a computer than was ever possible manually. Cash position can be reported at a touch of a button after each transaction. Under the manual system, this is possible only hours after the end of the transaction day. More rapid and reliable results can also be obtained in the design office, technical services, engineering or any department that has to crunch numbers regularly. The use of special equipment such as plotters, and graphics terminals can also help in improving information production.
7. It keeps your staff informed
When an organization staff are connected to the Internet on the computer, it helps them to provide answer almost all questions and teaches them anything that interests them. It can also keep them up-to-date with all of the latest news, weather, and stories around the world. Also, by watching videos and reading websites, they could learn a new profession.
Multitasking is one among the main benefits of using computers in your organization. It enable you to do multiple task, multiple operation at a same time, calculate numerical problems within few seconds. Computer can perform millions or trillions of work in one second.
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