A computer is simply a machine which is able to execute certain sets of mathematical or logical instructions automatically. Modern computers are able to do very general sets of common activities such as translating words in foreign languages, recognising photographs and so on. However, these machines are extremely complicated machines as they must be able to process thousands or millions of different instructions at any one time. In this article we’ll look at what a computer is used for, how it works, and what’s involved with keeping it running efficiently.
Computers are used everywhere in our day to day lives. They are used for work, pleasure and for computer networking. They are used by hobbyists who build computers and then also build their own network attached to the computers. Normal computer hardware consists of a central processing unit (CPU) and several independent microprocessors. The term processor is usually used to describe the unit of hardware that performs calculations. Independent microprocessors are hardware elements that are connected together using a number of different connections and pins.
Many businesses are now based around computer systems because they offer businesses the ability to manage their financials through a simple set of computerised systems. However, the effectiveness of this has led to small businesses being unable to afford high-end, fully automated computer systems. Therefore they tend to be more practical in smaller businesses which are more budget orientated. Small business owners also find that their needs for computer systems differ from those of larger companies; small businesses need their computers and other computer hardware to have a lower profile and less portability.
Computers perform their logical operations in much the same way as an electronic device would. For example, if you were looking at a calculator which contained basic mathematical operations you’d type the numbers in using the keyboard and the calculator would automatically do the necessary calculations. If you were to require additional functions such as a memory function or printing capabilities then you’d use the mouse and the electronic device would do the work for you. This is why most computers these days come equipped with a minimal operating system such as Windows, which allows the hardware to run independently and without the need for a human being to perform all the hard work.
Peripheral devices can also be considered computer hardware, although they aren’t actually part of the central processing unit. They are, however, useful for connecting peripherals such as printers, scanners and cameras. They are also often used to connect and enable communication between computers and external hardware such as other computers and printers. Therefore, peripheral devices such as printers and scanners are becoming more common in most homes and business computers as they allow users to get even more done with little effort and save time and money by reducing their need for additional compute hardware.
Supercomputers are usually found in large corporate environments and are typically found as one complete unit. In recent times, supercomputers are used in data centers for specialized applications and data processing. Although they are very powerful, they are usually only capable of supporting a few basic functions and therefore many small businesses and organizations now utilize dedicated servers for running more complex applications and customizing hardware for their needs. Small businesses can purchase their own supercomputer, but they may not have the resources or the power to support multiple users. Dedicated servers are a better option as they can be managed and upgraded independently and are much cheaper to run than on a mainframe.