INTRODUCTION TO COMPUTERS
Our lifestyles have undergone a sea change with the advancement in technology especially in the field of computers. Computers are an integral part of our lifestyles today and are found at offices, homes, schools, colleges, hotels, shops etc. This advance in technology has made our lives easy and comfortable. For instance, we can execute a number of activities using computer based systems- we can write a draft on word processor and email it, make calculations using an electronic spreadsheet and incorporate graphics, create a database of friends with their phone numbers, addresses and e-mail ids etc. It is an arduous process to perform these activities using existing traditional methods. Computers can also simplify other tasks such as word processing, designing, web site development, database management etc. Therefore, a computer should be referred to as a ‘Data processor’.
A computer is a device that opens up a world of possibilities. As the human race has advanced over the ages, we have always tried to do more things. And at the same time, we have tried to do these things faster, better and in a more complex and specialised manner. The practice of going to your nearby post office and filling out a form to send a money order still exists. You have probably done this yourself. However, in the time it takes to send one money order from Gulbarga to Bangalore the old way, a person using computers will have sent thousands of crores of rupees to thousands of people in a thousand different places around the world. Almost any work you can think of, and you do, Computers help you do it better, faster and more reliably. In today’s “Information age” computers are everywhere. Your mobile phone is a computer, the ATM machine is a computer, the handheld ticket printing machines that bus conductors use is a computer, and most modern cars have at least two computers built into them! Now, let us consider typical computer. It is a device that accepts instructions and information from you, works on those instructions pieces of information, and finally sends out a result; which is usually the completed work.
Evolution of Computer Technology
The origin of computer technology took place in the 19th century. People desired to have a machine that would carry out mathematical calculations for them. The ABACUS is considered to have been the first computer in the world. It was used to perform simple measurements and calculations. ABACUS is available even today for school going children.
In the 17th century, a scientist named Pascal developed a machine that could perform mathematical calculations. This machine comprised of a number of gears. The movement of gear mechanism was used to perform some calculations. He named the machine PASCALINE. However, the concept of the modern computer was propounded by the scientist and mathematician Charles Babbage. He first wrote on the use of logic and loops in process execution. Based on the concept of logic and loops, Babbage envisaged two models for performing computations- Analytical Engine and Difference Engine. In those days, electronics was not developed. Therefore, these models proposed by Babbage existed only on paper. However, the ideas given by Babbage were implemented after the invention of electronics. George Boolean developed the famous Boolean algebra based on binary numbers. De Morgan put forward theorems on logic gates. These theorems are known as De Morgan’s Theorems.
Lady Ada was the first computer programmer.
The real application of computers began in the late fifties. The computers were used in the United States for various applications such as census, defense, R&D, universities etc.
ADVANTAGES OF COMPUTERS
Compared to traditional systems, computers offer many noteworthy advantages. This is one reason that traditional systems are being replaced rapidly by computer-based systems. The main advantages offered by computers are as...
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