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Monday, July 8, 2013

advantages of using computer

Advantages in Using a Computer

1 - Introduction :

A computer is an electronic device that store, process and display information and data in a form that is easily understood. The main characteristics of a computer are the very high speed with which calculations and processes are carried out and also the very large amount of information and data that may be stored in a relatively small spaces called memory.

2 - Speed of Computing:

One of the main advantages in using computers is the possibility that a task that may take longer to do by hand may be done in a shorter period of time using a computer. Computers are designed to do tasks much faster and more accurately than humans. Numerical computations, creation and editing of documents, data organization and presentation, graphics are examples of tasks that are done efficiently when computers are used.

2 - Efficiency and Productivity:

It is perhaps easy to explain the efficiency of computers in comparing documents produced using a typewriter and a word processor (on a computer). Using a word processing makes it easy to make changes to letters, words, chapters or entire documents. There are possibilities to spell check words and therefore make changes. Deleting and inserting letters, words and paragraphs is done without leaving a trace. When all necessary changes are made, files may be saved, printed, edited as many times as is necessary, sent by e-mail to someone else in another continent within minutes. When using a typewriter, a simple typing error would be time consuming to fix.
Several recent studies have shown a substantial increase in productivity due to the use of computers.

3 - Data Storage.

Computer storage or memory is measured in bytes. A byte correspond to 8 bits (binary digit). For example it takes 1 byte (or 8 bits) to represent (store) a character of the alphabet. A page of a book with 80 characters per line and 40 lines per page would need 80 * 40 = 3200 bytes of storage or 3 Kilobytes (1 Kilobyte = 1024 bytes).

A book of 400 pages would need 400 * 3 Kilobytes = 1.2 Megabytes (1 megabyte = 1000 Kilobytes)

What does all this mean in practical terms?

Example 1: A CD has a storage capacity of 600 Megabytes and therefore can hold the contents of 600 / 1.2 = 500. Yes 500 books in ond CD!.

Example 2: A DVD has a storage capacity of 4.7 Gigabytes (1 Gigabyte = 1000 Megabytes) and can therefore hold 4700 / 1.2 = 4000 (approximately) books.



computer history and its generation

The History of the Computer Generations

Punched Card System
Punched Card System
Source: Wikipedia

The evolution of computers

It is very hard to believe but computer's era begins in ancient times. The first mechanical devices that somewhat can be called a limited function computers appeared in 2500 BC. Well, Sumerian abacus cannot be called a real computer, but it's goal was helping in various calculations. The slide rule, that can be called a mechanical analog computer appeared in 1620. Looking deeply in the ancient history many interesting and useful machines, that can be referred as primitive computers can be found. There were machines which calculated the astronomical positions of stellar bodies. Various devices, such as astolabe also can be called computers.

The First Generation: Vacuum Tubes

The first computer generation appeared in 1946-1958. It is the era of vacuum tubes. The computers of this era were huge, very expensive, slow and had limited application capabilities. The first computer that had vacuum tubes was constructed in 1946 by J. P. Eckert and J. Mauchly. Their machine was called ENIAC (Electronc Numerical Integrator and Computer). ENIAC had thousands of vacuum tubes.

The Second Generation: Transistors

The second generation of computers lasted from 1959-1964. It was a very short era. The vacuum tubes were replaced by transistors. Actually, the invention of a transistor had a huge influence on the development of electronics.
The invention of transistor allowed computer to became smaller, faster and cheaper. These computer also were more efficient and more reliable that the computers of the first generation. The first symbolic (assembly) programming languages appeared in this generation. Also, the backgrounds of high level programing languages were developed. The first versions of COBOL and FORTRAN appeared.
The computer instructions storage also changed. The step from magnetic drum to magnetic core technology was made.

The Third Generation: Integrated Circuits

The invention of integrated circuits were another great step in developing semiconductors technologies. The third computer generations appeared. The third generation lasted from 1964 to 1971.
The appearance of integrated circuits allowed to place miniaturized transistors on silicon chips. This technological invention allowed computers to increase speed and to become more efficient.


The Fourth Generation: Microprocessors

The appearance of microprocessor allowed the fourth generation of computers to appear. This happed in 1971. At the moment we still have fourth generation computers. Microprocessor is a device that have thousand integrated circuits (millions of transistors) built in one silicon chip. The fourth generation was started by Intel 4004 chip that was developed in 1971. The greatest thing in computer evolution was that the whole computer that in first generation filled the whole room, now was integrated into a small chip.