‘Computer Awareness for competitive exams’ is the series of articles updated daily, intended to help with your preparation for competitive exams. The following article is about ‘Basics of Computers and How they Work’
IBPS PO has a fairly defined syllabus for Computer Education. It can be very scoring given that your basic concept is clear. Today let’s start with what are Computers and how do they work.
With technical advancement, the need to understand computers and its functioning has grown tremendously.
So what is a computer? A computer can be defined as an electronic device that can be used to carry out a specific set of arithmetic and logical operations. They can carry out multiple commands at a time and hence can used to solve more than one problem at a time.
Every Computer comes with two ready components:
Hardware means the physical parts or the devices that come with computer, the hard disk, mouse, keyboard, screen for example.
Software can be defined as something that helps the users interact with the computers, or in other words they are set of codes that enable the Hardware to perform specific tasks in the Computer
HOW DOES A COMPUTER WORK ?
The hardware of the computer has devices like the monitor, printer, mouse and speakers.In the computer you will find more bits of hardware, like your motherboard, also main processing chips which build the CPU(Central Processing Unit). The software commands the hardware to perform the calculations and operations.
The programs that are installed on the computer to perform activities is called software. There are operating system (OS) software, such as the Apple OS for a Macintosh, or Windows 95 or Windows 98 for a computer. Application software is the software that we use to solve math problems, play games etc.
A computer has three main parts, which are covered in hardware :
1) The Arithmetic Logic Unit (ALU),
2) The Control Unit, the Memory, and the Input and Output devices (collectively termed I/O).
3) With the help of keyboard the data is fed into the processor, which is received by the computer, and is called Input.
Under hardware, the following devices are found:
1) INPUT DEVICES (I):
11)OCR (Optical Character Recognition)
12)BCR (Barcode Reader)
13)OMR (Optical Mark Recognition)
14)MIRC (The Magnetic Ink Character Recognition)
2) PROCESSING DEVICES (P)
3) OUTPUT DEVICES (O)
4) STORAGE UNITS (S)
1) Magnetic Tape
Software can be further divided into the following categories:
1) UTILITY SOFTWARE :
1) Utility tools
2) Customized Software
2) APPLICATION SOFTWARE :
3) OPERATING SYSTEM SOFTWARE:
1) Multi user OS (CLIENTS): DOS, MAC OS, WINDOWS (XP,VISTA, 7, 8,8.1)
2) Single user OS (SERVERS): UNIX SERVER, LINUX SERVER, WINDOWS SERVER(2000,2003,2005,2008,2012)
That was the basic overview of What is a Computer and What are it’s parts and What they mean. Below you will find some important definitions or terminology related to Computers.
Some important terms and definitions related to Computers:
1) Peripherals: Devices that are used with computers to display or store the data.
2) Data: Unorganized raw information which will be organized by human or autonomous sources.
3) Information: Organizing the raw unorganized information so that it becomes easier for the human being to process it.
4) Bit: Smallest unit of information which can be understood by the computer is called bit.
5) Processing: The foremost goal of the computer is to process the information. While doing this, it needs to alter the information. This process of control and alter is called as Processing.
6) Binary Number System is the system used by the computer to perform calculation.
Mainframe computers are used by the governments and large enterprises to perform larger operations, and are very expensive.
7) ROM (Read Only Memory): As the name suggests, it only allows reading and can be modified with a lot of effort. The contents are retained even after power is switched off. Types of ROM are EFROM, PROM, and EEPROM.
8) RAM (Random Access Memory): It is used to keep track of current processing and the information is lost after switching the power off.
When you open a program, it occurs from hard disk into RAM. This is because reading data from the RAM is faster at processing the data than hard disk. More the RAM, more the data that can be loaded from the hard drive. Also, it can effectively speed your computer.
RAM has two types:
Static Ram: Static Ram can be defined as the RAM that detains the data as long as the power is provided and doesn’t need to be refreshed.
Dynamic Ram: Dynamic Ram is defined as the RAM that needs to be refreshed; also it continues to go in and out of the memory depending on the availability of the power.
9) Primary Memory can be defined as the memory that is accessed by the computer primarily. For example, RAM and Cache’s Memory.
10) Virtual Memory is the memory that the CPU uses as extended RAM.
11) Secondary Memory is the cheapest and slowest form of memory, and cannot be directly processed by the CPU. For example, Floppy, CDs and magnetic tapes which were the first form of secondary memory.
12) Installation: Is the process by which software is copied from secondary storage to hard disk.
13) Server: It is the central computer which holds collections of data and programs for many PCs, workstations.
14) Programmer: is the person who writes programs in the programming language to carryout complex tasks in the computer that are easy to execute for a user.
15) Examples of programming language: are JAVA, SQL, C, and C++. These programming languages are written in order to train the computer to get the desired output.