Monday, June 2, 2008

Classification of Computers and its Uses

Introduction

Computer is an electronic system designed to manipulate data. It comes from the word "to compute" which means "to calculate".

Like human computers differ in appearance, size and capacity. They perform different tasks according to the purpose of their creation. Controversy comes out when we talk about distinctions among the various categories of computers. Computers may be classified according to their purpose, performance, and capacity.


CLASSIFICATION BY PURPOSE

Digital computers may be classified for two purposes: general and special.

1. GENERAL-PURPOSE COMPUTERS


These machines have the capability of performing several applications. It has the ability to store different programs of instruction and can perform a variety of operations.

The personal computers are the best example of this type of computer. A teacher for example may compute grades in spreadsheet, make excuse letter for his coming school activity in word processing next, and running a slide show for his lesson later. All tasks can be done while listening to your favorite radio station. New programs can be prepared and old programs can be modify or delete.

In choosing this type of machine, one should consider the size of memory, speed of processor, and efficiency of the software and hardware used.


2. SPECIAL-PURPOSE COMPUTERS

These machines have the capability of performing one applications. It is designed to perform specific tasks. It is also called "dedicated computers" because of their limitations to perform other operations. Some examples are used in the following: satellite systems, traffic control, telecommunicators, highway tolls, and industrial tracking.


CLASSIFICATION BY PERFORMANCE

1. ANALOG COMPUTERS

Analog or analogous meaning similar are computers that measure physical quantities that are continuously variable. They give only an approximate result and can output the result in graphical form. Some examples include are:

a.) Antikythera mechanism = an ancient mechanical calculator, designed to calculate astronomical positions. b.) Astrolabe = an astronomical instrument used by astronomers, astrologers, and navigators. It is used to locate and predict the positions of the Sun, Moon, planets and stars. c.) Potentiometer = a variable tapped resistor that is used as a voltage divider.

d.) Oscilloscope = a type of electronic test equipment that allows signal voltages to be viewed.

e.) Richter scale = a device used to measure the strength of an earthquake.

f.) Speedometer = a device used to measure the speed of a land vehicle.

g.) Old gas pump = a machine used to put gasoline in a vehicles.


2. DIGITAL COMPUTERS

As the term implies, a digital computer is a machine that specializes in counting. It can perform 100% error-free arithmetic operations. This type of computer is widely used in both in business and scientific purposes. Digital computer capabilities as follows: (1) It can store the sum of addition problems; (2) It can subtract, multiply, divide and compare; (3) It can programmed to recognize and manipulate numeric symbols; (4) It is capable of storing data; (5) It can perform logical operations; (6) It can edit input data and print out the results.


3. HYBRID COMPUTERS

These are computers that combines the features of analog and digital computers. The measuring capabilities of the analog computers and the logical and control capabilities of digital computes can be both performed by this device. Some hybrid machines can convert analog voltages into digital voltages, and vice-versa. Some examples are as follows:

a.) Hybrid Electric Vehicle = a car the combines a gasoline engine with electric motors.

b.) Hybrid coupler = a type of directional coupler used in radio and telecommunications.

c.) Telephone hybrid = an electronic circuit used in telephones.

d.) Radio-frequency hybrids = are used to split radio signals, including television. The splitter divides the antenna signal to feed multiple receivers.



CLASSIFICATION ACCORDING TO CAPACITY

The term "capacity" refers to the amount of data that can be stored by a computer device. The early generation computer determines its capacity in terms of its physical size - the larger the device, the greater the amount of data that can be stored in memory. Nowadays, it is measured in terms of applications it can run, speed of internal operation, number and type of peripheral devices, amount and type of software available for use with the computer, and of course the amount of data that can be stored in memory.

Computer systems are classified as microcomputers, minicomputers, mainframe computers, large computers and supercomputers.

1.) MICROCOMPUTERS

It is the smallest type of computers basically designed for a single user. It is a computer with a microprocessor as its central processing unit. It has 4K to 64K storage locations and is capable of handling small business, sales analysis, billing, payroll, inventory, industrial automation, and data acquisition. Other uses are as follows:

a.) Controller for the so-called "intelligent" robot arms and hands capable of factory assembly operations;

b.) Handler of a variety of engineering, scientific, and other common business applications;

c.) Control in ways that greatly simplify product testing and manufacturing processes;

d.) Plants and laboratories;

e.) Business offices;

f.) Auto-dealer showrooms;

g.) Medical laboratories;

h.) Insurance agencies;

i.) Construction sites

Microcomputers is a complete computing system, less powerful in speed and computing power than a minicomputer. Many microcomputers are also personal computers. PC may be a desktop, laptop, or a table computer.

2. MINICOMPUTERS

It is also known as "small mainframe computers", a small stand-alone device which can be used to handle tasks that large computers can not perform economically. It provides faster operating speeds and larger storage capacities than microcomputer systems. It usually has 8K to 256K memory storage locations. Some uses are as follows:

a.) Handle a number of high speed input/output devices;

b.) Provide direct access to remote terminals;

c.) Used for laboratory process control applications;

d.) Used in a wide variety of commercial operations such as airline reservations, car rentals, banking transactions, and inventory control.


Minicomputers can performs many of the processes of a mainframe but more slowly and at a much lower cost. Some examples include: IBM Systems 3, AS-400, PDP-8, Honeywell 200 and 1200 computers.


3. MAINFRAME COMPUTERS (MEDIUM-SIZE COMPUTERS)

They are capable of storing large quantities of information and serving over one hundred terminals at a faster operating speed. This type of computer does all operations faster than minicomputers. They usually have memory sizes ranging from 32K to 512K. Some uses includes:

a.) Support a large number of high-speed input/output devices;

b.) Provide online access to large data files;

c.) Used for batch processing;

d.) Support both multiprogramming and virtual storage;

e.) Used in electrical circuit design and structural analysis;

f.) Support a management information system;

g.) Used on a time-sharing basis;


Mainframe computers are very flexible that they can be expanded to meet the needs of the users. Some examples include: IBM System 370, IBM-4331, Burroughs 3500 System and NCR Century 200 System.

4. LARGE COMPUTERS

Large computers have storage capacities from 512K to 8192K. They are ultimate in system sophistication, speed and flexibility. They contain full control systems with minimal user intervention. Their speed are measured in terms of nanoseconds, as compared to smaller computers are measured in terms of microseconds. Some uses are as follows:

a.) Maintain organization's corporate files and integrated data bases;

b.) Used by government agencies, large corporations, and computer service organizations;

c.) Used in complex simulation, business operations, product testing, and development of space technology;

d.) Connects vast numbers of terminals, including even smaller computers and minicomputers at remote locations.

Large computers can be expanded up to 8 or even 16 million characters. It ranges from single-processing configurations to nationwide computer-based networks.

5.) SUPERCOMPUTERS

The largest and fastest machines today. They are used when billions or even trillions of calculations are needed. Their speed is in the range of 100 million instructions per second. Some uses include:

a.) Used in product testing;

b.) Development of space technology;

c.) Nuclear weapon development;

d.) Accurate weather forecasting;

e.) Aircraft design;

f.) Host processors for local computer and time sharing networks;

Supercomputers are not flexible. They need smaller machines to handle minor programs.

CONCLUSION

"No matter what type of computers you are using as long as you used it for the betterment of everything that surrounds you, there is nothing to worry about."

Coming up next, "What computers can and can't do".






Thursday, May 29, 2008

Trends on Technology

Technology is a product of science and engineering studying the natural world. It is the process by which humans transform nature to meet their wants and needs. It deals with the usage and knowledge of tools and crafts and how it affects the ability to control and adapt to the environment.

It comes from the latin word "technologia"-"techne"(craft) and "logia" (saying). Inspites of this elusive definition, "technology can refer to material objects of use of humanity, such as utensils, machines, or hardware but it can also encompass broader themes, including techniques, systems, or organizations. The term can either be applied generally
or specifically such as "medical technology","information technology", "space technology", "construction technology", or "state-of-the-art technology".

The trends on technology mirror a market that is in brisk and vague evolution. Contemporary technology trends are always changing and new developments are constantly improving the whole world. The latest and its advantages are as follows:


The many inventions on the different aspect of computer. Basic components of computer are: hardware, software and peopleware. Software refers to the set of instructions or programs, example includes: operating system, utilities, compilers or interpreters, and any other software packages. Hardware is the physical equipment of the computer. Hardware of personal computer for example are: monitor, keyboard, system unit formerly known as CPU, mouse, printers, webcam and any other peripheral devices of a PC. Peopleware represents the personnel involved in the systems analysis, operations, maintenance and the likes. Discovery of new products in this field is unstoppable.

Software and Hardware vendors are facing momentous changes to their business model. With new products and an ad blitz, it aims to climb out of the commodity bin. Example of large software companies are: Microsoft, Oracle, First Data, SAP, Accenture, Google, Yahoo, Computer Sciences Corporation, Electronic Data Systems, SoftBank, Symantec, CA, Fiserv, Affiliated Computer Services, Adobe Systems, Capgemini Group, ASML Holding, Electronic Arts, Advantest, Intuit, Autodesk, VeriSign, Check Point Software, DST Systems, The Sage group, Dassault Systemes, CSK, Akamai Tecnologies and many more.

Companies that sell operating system like Windows, Office Applications for making professional documents, financial reports, presentations, IT security (anti-virus, internet protection, and the likes) and other programs spring turning a marketing blunder into a witty field that could change your work and even your life.

Electronic payment services are wooing more and more consumers and merchants, and becoming the silence stars of e-commerce. Companies doing business online to spend the money to create more. Their business growth cycle and are committed to helping them succeed.

Printer, scanner, speaker, headphones, modems, faxes, copiers, and other peripheral devices of personal computer comes in different designs, colors, sizes, and impressive features that would help consumers keep better tabs of their growing collection of documents, photos, music, and videos.

Wireless gadgets are moving ahead from the advent of the iPhone to widgets for kids. Developers of mobile phones inevitably producing different highly-featured brand that would meet the needs of their consumers.

Cable Companies are rapidly growing changes millions of televisions worldwide. Family reunites just to watch their favorite television shows.

Computer gaming gradually drawing attention to people of all ages nowadays. It is one of the fastest growing segments which make it a multi-billion pound industry. It has a unique form of entertainment that the world has never seen before.


The modes of transportation through high-powered transport facilities are getting faster and more reliable. Travel by land, water or air at no time is no longer impossible. Examples of modes of transport are: Aviation (Aircraft, Jetpack); Ship (Boat, Ferry, Submarine); Rail (Cable Car, Underground Railway); Road (Car, Motorcycle); Ski lift (Telecabine, Teleski); Other (Rocket, Spacecraft)


In medicine more drugs has been produced and most of the sickness were cured and may even be prevented. Thanks to the advance medical equipments and tools. For home type of medical equipment example includes: Air Ioniser, Air Purifier, Artificial limb, Breast Protheses, Cannula, Commodes, Continious Positive Airway Pressure, Crutch, Diabetic Shoes, Dynamic Splint, Enteral Nutrition, Elevating Toilet Seat, Infusion Pump, Nasal Cannula, Nebulizer, Orthosis, Oxygen concentrator, Patient lift, Positive Airway Pressure, Prosthesis, Respiratory Assist Devices, Seat lift, Walkers and Wheelchairs.


It's not only eating that is fun but as well as cooking. All because of the newly released amazing machines we have for food preparation. For food preparation utensils we have: Baba Mold, Bain Marie, Banneton, Busting Brush, Basting Syringe, Bench Scraper, Blender, Bone Scissors, Bread Knife, Browning Tray, Candy Thermometer, Can Opener, Casserole, Cauldron, Cheese Cloth, Cheese Grater, Cheese Slicer, Chief's knife, Chinoise, Colander, Cookie Cutter, Chop Sticks, Crockery, Cutting Board, Double Boiler, Drum Sieve, Egg Piercer, Egg Slicer, Egg timer, Faucet, Fillet Knife, Frying Pan, Idli/Pan Tray, Kitchen Scissors, Knife, Knife Grinder, Ladle, Lame, Lemon Reamer, Lemon Squeezer, Lemon Zester, Mandoline, Mated colander Pot, Measuring Cup, Measuring Spoon, Molcajete, Mortar, Muffin Tin, Nut Cracker, Oven Mitts, Pastry Bags, Pastry Brush, Peel(tool), Pestle, Pepper Mill, Pizza Cutter, Potato Masher, Potato Peeler, Potato Ricer, Potholder, Puree Sieve, Rolling Pin, Roulade Needles, Salamander, Salamander Grill, Salt Shaker, Scale, Scoop, Scraper, Sieve, Skillet, Skimmer, Slotted Spoon, Spatula, Spider, Stainless Steel Soap, Strainer, String, Sugar Spoon, Tamis, Timer, Tin Foil, Tongs, Toast-Tite, Tomato Knife, Vegetable Knife, Waffle Iron, Whisk and Wooden Spoon.


Now that most business operations and knowledge works are conducted in the digital domain via computers, and because we now have a global data communications network which does not restrict the type of data shared, technology is changing yet again. And it will continuously grows as long as the world needs it.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Unknown Computer

Introduction

Computer!...Computer!...Computer!...You often heard the word computer. Here, there, and everywhere. Most of the time, you use the term. But do you know the meaning of it?


There are many version of its definition, as many as, published books, dictionaries, magazines, websites, and other materials. There are meaning that are long; very long, short and very short...

The way a meaning is expressed, changes depending on the trends of technology, historical age, computer generation, authors' point of views and experiences, kinds of computer, available materials needed to build computer, and other factors that affect the meaning of computer.

Get all the meanings of computer; understand and evaluate it; find out the common denominator. Say it in one sentence. What is a computer today?


Computer Defined

Computer is an electronic system designed to manipulate data.

Let's talk about it one by one.

When you say electronic system, you mean a machine that is powered or run by an electron. Does it mean all electronic system is a computer?

Think about it, what is your answer, "Yes" or "No". Why yes? And why not? Please justify your answer.

If it is yes, you mean the refrigerator, flat iron, washing machine, rice cooker, oven toaster, air condition, copier machine, television, printer, scanner, component, electric fan, microwave oven, cell phone, and other devices that is run by an electron can be a computer? Do you agree with this? What is the real score? Are all electronic devices a computer?

If your answer is no, maybe your thinking, about the next phrase that defines what computer is, and that is "designed to manipulate data". If all electronic devices are computer, how can a refrigerator, air condition, television, component, cell phone and other electronic devices, manipulate data?

Before you answer it, let's talk about the second phrase, "designed to manipulate data". When you say, data manipulation in computer, there's an input of data; data is processed based on the input given; and there’s the desired output as a result of the processing.

Again, based on the explanation about the meaning of computer, do you agree that all electronic devices can be a computer?

If you don't, why? Please explain. Maybe you're saying, "Not all electronic devices can manipulate data. Therefore, they are not computer."

On the other hand if you do, the question now is, how can those electronic devices mentioned in the later part, manipulate data? Come on, imagine your answer? Let's take for example the refrigerator. What could be the input data? How the processing of data is takes place? And what will be the output?

What is your answer? Are you saying that once we turn the control knob of the refrigerator from minimum to maximum you are entering data, and that is the input? The processing takes place when the temperature changed? Then the output will be your desired temperature which is in this case the maximum? Yes?

Congratulations, you got it right! Believe it or not, most electronic devices can be a computer; some are computer like; still a computer.

Using the explanation above about the refrigerator, tell me how the manipulation of data is takes place in the following electronic devices: copier machine, television, washing machine, electronic flat iron, cell phone, and microwave oven. Can you tell? If yes, is the answer. Very good! Let us proceed with our discussion about the word.

Computer comes from the term, "to compute" meaning to calculate. The reason why it is called computer because whenever you enter your input it computes during the processing to give your desired result. That is why we call it computer. Computer the machine that computes.

By that way, do you know the first meaning of computer, appeared in the early dictionaries, before the first generation exist? You will not believe this, the first meaning is, "A person who can calculate." Yes, in that case, before the mechanical-age, human is a computer. But that was before, it no longer applies today.

Nowadays, computer becoming human. There are computer that can imitate what human can do. Most of them are products of artificial intelligence. We will have other discussion about this topic. Watch for it! This will be very interesting.

Common Misconception about Computer

Some people thinks only of the personal computer, when they heard it. Please do not limit yourself. There are so many classification of it; PC is just one of the examples. Check it out. Read the article entitled, "Classification of Computers and its Uses".