Often people mistake the word computer as an acronym and think that there is a full form of computer. However, it is so not true. The word computer existed even long before computer machines even came into existence.
The word computer was first used to define a person who performs calculations. It denotes a human-computer that could do computations or calculations.
Another speculation is that it derives from the word ‘compute’ which means to calculate. The computer was first used to performs arithmetical calculations and thus the name. It is also said the computer stands for-
Common Operation Machine Used for Technological and Educational Research
However, this is just a myth and no such full form of computer.
Why is computer a computing machine?
The brain or the commander in chief of the computer is its CPU.
CPU= ALU+ CU
The CPU constitutes two units-
- The arithmetic Logical Unit
- Control Unit.
As the name suggests, ALU performs all the calculations like addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. It also performs logical operations like AND and OR. Earlier the computers were only used to perform calculations faster and thus were called computing machines. But now computers are not limited to just arithmetical and logical operations. They are now useful for varied purposes, which we will discuss later in this article.
The Control Unit simultaneously controls various tasks carried out by the computer. Performing various tasks single-handedly without any fail is possible only due to the Control Unit. The Control Unit receives instructions from the Input Unit, informs the ALU about the tasks, and manages output through the Output Unit.
Components of the Computer
The 5 main components of computer are–
- Input Unit
- Memory Unit
- Output Unit
The receiving of instructions from the user and converting them into machine-readable form is the task of the input unit. Input devices like keyboard, mouse, joystick, etc. are all the peripherals that come under the input unit.
The processing of the instructions, performing logical and arithmetical operations on them, deciding whether to store the output or send it to the Output Unit. CPU performs these functions.
The memory unit stores all the data, information, and instructions possessed by the computer. The memory unit has two parts – RAM and ROM.
The RAM or Random Access Memory is the temporary memory of the computer. It is also called volatile memory. The RAM stores the temporary data which is appropriate for current operations. Thus should be quickly accessible. RAM is temporary or volatile memory because once the mains is off all the data gets erased.
The ROM or Read Only Memory or the permanent memory stores the data for long period. It is useful for read-only purposes. Even power failure cannot cause data loss.
The storage retains all the digital data given to the computer. All the computers or even the laptops have some kind of storage inside them. These could be Hard disks or SSDs (Solid State Drives). SSD’s and HDD store not only files and information on the computer but are also responsible for performance of the computer. Meanwhile, SSDs are now taking over Hard Disks for the faster running of tasks assigned and the applications,.
The Output Unit converts the output processed by the computer back into human-readable form. Peripherals like printers, monitors, speakers, etc. all come under the output unit.
Uses of the Computer
The computer is not just a computing machine anymore. various sectors of industries are using computers for various purposes. Some of the common uses of computers are-
- Computers are now in every household. Children are using it to play games and watch movies. With everything being turned to online people are now paying bills and shopping groceries all from home through computers.
- Health sectors use computers for intricate jobs that are impossible for humans. The heart rate monitors or robotic surgical devices to perform surgeries everywhere usage of computers is prominent.
- Companies use computers to maintain a database of the employees.
- Used in all educational institutes to make studies interactive and fun.
- Various government sectors are using computers for various purposes. For missile development, storing citizens’ personal information, interacting with different ministries, and much more. Such activities promote Digital India. Further, avoiding paper wastage.
In conclusion, it might be said that although computers were first developed for just computing and calculations. But, now with advancements in technology, they are no more just mere computing devices and are enhancing human work in every possible way.
Kuldeep is the founder and lead author of ArtOfTesting. He is skilled in test automation, performance testing, big data, and CI-CD. He brings his decade of experience to his current role where he is dedicated to educating the QA professionals. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.