A computer is a device that is programmed to perform certain mathematical or logical operations automatically without the need for human intervention. Modern computers are able to do extremely broad ranges of basic operations such as recognizing and rendering images, storing and retrieved data, and running programs stored in files. Computers can also be used to operate a host of other computer related tasks, depending on the type of computer system that is being used. Most modern computers are equipped with hardware and software designed to support various applications.
Computers are categorized according to their operating system, which is the mechanism that coordinates all the hardware, software, drivers, and applications within a computer to work together. The most popular operating systems today are Windows and MacOS. Microsoft has released its own operating system, called Windows Vista, for desktop computers. Apple’s OS X is used for portable computers, mostly iPad and the MacBook. Both these operating systems have a very long list of supported software and hardware components, which includes audio, game developers, security components, and web browsing software.
One part of a computer system is the microprocessor. The instruction set that is executed inside the microprocessor can be executed in a single mode or in multi-mode. In a single mode operation, the instructions are interpreted directly by the microprocessor. Multi-mode operations have parallel processors that assist in performing calculations much faster than single mode operations. Instructions that run multiple times through the execution cycle of a microprocessor can use up more storage space than usual. This is one reason why many small computers today use microprocessors with much more capacity than typical laptops.
Another part of a computer system is the hardware peripheral. This includes peripheral electronics such as printers, keyboards, digital cameras, microphones, video game controllers, video transmitters, scanners, USB drives, and optical drives. The hardware peripheral assists in managing the flow of information from one program to another. Some common examples of hardware peripheral are printers, scanners, USB drives, and optical drives.
The computer software that controls the execution of the computer hardware is also part of a computer system. Windows is the most commonly used operating system for desktops. Apple Macintosh OS and Linux are other examples of common computer software applications. Examples of popular computer software applications include word processing applications, spreadsheets, databases, web browser, and photo editing programs. A combination of Windows and popular open source computer software applications form the backbone of most modern desktops and laptops.
Learning these computer skills early on will help you master this technical field. It will also prepare you for entering the highly competitive job market for those who are interested in becoming computer programmers or hardware technicians. In addition, it will prepare you to take advantage of new advances in technology.