Topic: What is a computer?
What is a computer?
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What is a computer?
A computer is a machine (mostly electronic) that is able to take information (input), do some work on or make changes to the information (process), to make new information (output). Computers have existed for much of human history. Examples of early computers are theastrolabe and the abacus. There are four main processing steps in a computer, and they are: inputting, outputting, storage and processing.
Modern computers are very different from early computers. They can do billions of calculations per second. Most people have used apersonal computer in their home or at work. Computers do many different jobs where automation is useful. Some examples are controllingtraffic lights, vehicle computers, security systems, washing machines and digital televisions.
A computer user can control it by a user interface. Input devices include keyboard, mouse, buttons, touch screen. Some very new computers can also be controlled with voice commands or hand gestures or even brain signals through electrodes implanted in the brain or along nerves.
Computers can be designed to do almost anything with information. Computers are used to control large and small machines which in the past were controlled by humans. They are also in homes, where they are used for things such as listening to music, reading the news, and writing.
Modern computers are electronic machines. A computer is only useful if it has both hardware and software. Hardware is the physical parts the computer is made of - for example keyboard, mouse, screen, tower, and the circuits inside it. Software is the computer programs (mathematical instructions). The software uses the hardware, when the user gives it instructions, and gives useful output.
Many modern computers do billions of calculations each second. They do mathematical arithmetic very quickly but computers do not really "think". They only follow the instructions in their software programs.
Computer programs are designed or written by computer programmers. A few programmers write programs in the computer's own language called machine code. Most programs are written using a programming language like C++, Java, and Python. These programming languages are more like the language you talk and write with every day. A program called a compiler translates the user's instructions into binary code (machine code) that the computer will understand and do what is needed.