Introduction - What Is A Computer

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The Oxford Dictionary defines computer as an automatic electronic apparatus for making calculations and controlling operations that are expressible in numerical or logical terms.

The definition clearly categorizes the computer as an electronic apparatus although the first computers were mechanical and electro-mechanical apparatuses. The definition also points towards the two major areas of computer application:

  • Data Processing
  • Computer-Assisted Controls / Operations

Another important conclusion of the definition is the fact that the computer can perform only those operations or calculations that can be expressed in logical or numerical terms.

A computer is a data processor. It can accept input, which may be data or instruction or both. The computer remembers the input by storing it in memorycells. It then processes the stored input by performing calculations or by making logical comparisons or both. it gives out the result of the arithmetic or logical computations or both. The computer accepts input and outputs data in an alphanumeric form. Internally it converts input data to meaningful binary digits, performs the instructed operations on the binary data, and transforms the data from the binary digit form to understandable alphanumeric form.

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