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Using vacuum tubes o Second generation to Using transistors o Third generation to Using integrated circuits o Fourth generation to present: Using microprocessors o Fifth generation present and next: Computers are an integral part of our lives. Wherever we are—sitting in our homes, working in the office, driving on roads, sitting in a movie hall, staying in a hotel, etc.

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Computer Fundamentals

Relevance of Computer applications in different functional areas of. At one moment you can use the computer to prepare a letter document and in the next moment you may play music or print a document. Computers have several limitations too. Computer can only perform tasks that it has been programmed to do. Computer cannot do any work without instructions from the user.

It executes instructions as specified by the user and does not take its own decisions. Until the development of the first generation computers based on vacuum tubes, there had been several developments in the computing technology related to the mechanical computing devices.

The key developments that took place till the first computer was developed are as follows—. It consists of bars in horizontal positions on which sets of beads are inserted.

The horizontal bars have 10 beads each, representing units, tens, hundreds, etc. An abacus is shown in Figure 1. Using the slide rule, one could perform operations like addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. It was used extensively till late s. Figure 1. It could add and subtract. The machine consisted of wheels, gears and cylinders. The German philosopher and mathematician Gottfried Leibniz built it around He invented the punched card reader that could recognize the presence of hole in the punched card as binary one and the absence of the hole as binary zero.

The Os and 1s are the basis of the modern digital computer. A punched card is shown in Figure 1. The machine was called as difference engine. Later, Charles Babbage and Lady Ada Lovelace developed a general-purpose calculating machine, the analytical engine. Charles Babbage is also called the father of computer. The machine could read the information from a punched card and process it electronically.

The developments discussed above and several others not discussed here, resulted in the development of the first computer in the s. The computer has evolved from a large—sized simple calculating machine to a smaller but much more powerful machine.

The evolution of computer to the current state is defined in terms of the generations of computer. Each generation of computer is designed based on a new technological development, resulting in better, cheaper and smaller computers that are more powerful, faster and efficient than their predecessors.

Currently, there are five generations of computer. In the following subsections, we will discuss the generations of computer in terms of—. The input to the computer was through punched cards and paper tapes. The output was displayed as printouts. Machine language uses 0s and 1s for coding of the instructions.

The first generation computers could solve one problem at a time.

The first generation computers used a large number of vacuum tubes and thus generated a lot of heat. They consumed a great deal of electricity and were expensive to operate. The machines were prone to frequent malfunctioning and required constant maintenance.

Since first generation computers used machine language, they were difficult to program. Transistors allowed computers to become smaller, faster, cheaper, energy efficient and reliable. The second generation computers used magnetic core technology for primary memory. They used magnetic tapes and magnetic disks for secondary storage.

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The input was still through punched cards and the output using printouts. They used the concept of a stored program, where instructions were stored in the memory of computer. It is easier to write instructions in assembly language, as compared to writing instructions in machine language. The transistors had to be assembled manually in second generation computers. Second generation computers generated a lot of heat but much less than the first generation computers. They required less maintenance than the first generation computers.

In an IC chip, multiple transistors are placed on a silicon chip. Silicon is a type of semiconductor. The use of IC chip increased the speed and the efficiency of computer, manifold.

The keyboard and monitor were used to interact with the third generation computer, instead of the punched card and printouts. Operating system allowed different applications to run at the same time. High-level languages were used extensively for programming, instead of machine language and assembly language. Computers were produced commercially, and were smaller and cheaper than their predecessors.

The third generation computers used less power and generated less heat than the second generation computers. The cost of the computer reduced significantly, as individual components of the computer were not required to be assembled manually.

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The maintenance cost of the computers was also less compared to their predecessors. Thousands of transistors are integrated on a small silicon chip using LSI technology. VLSI allows hundreds of thousands of components to be integrated in a small chip.

This era is marked by the development of microprocessor. Microprocessor is a chip containing millions of transistors and components, and,. A microprocessor chip is shown in Figure 1. This generation of computers gave rise to Personal Computer PC.

Semiconductor memory replaced the earlier magnetic core memory, resulting in fast random access to memory. Secondary storage device like magnetic disks became smaller in physical size and larger in capacity. The linking of computers is another key development of this era. The computers were linked to form networks that led to the emergence of the Internet. This generation also saw the development of pointing devices like mouse, and handheld devices.

GUI is a user-friendly interface that allows user to interact with the computer via menus and icons. High-level programming languages are used for the writing of programs. Some can even fit into the palm of the hand. Personal computers became available to the home user. In , IBM introduced the first computer for home use. In , Apple introduced the Macintosh. The microprocessor has resulted in the fourth generation computers being smaller and cheaper than their predecessors.

The fourth generation computers are also portable and more reliable. They generate much lesser heat and require less maintenance compared to their predecessors. GUI and pointing devices facilitate easy use and learning on the computer. Networking has resulted in resource sharing and communication among different computers. The goal of fifth generation computing is to develop computers that are capable of learning and self-organization.

These computers have large memory requirements. This generation of computers uses parallel processing that allows several instructions to be executed in parallel, instead of serial execution. Parallel processing results in faster processing speed. The Intel dualcore microprocessor uses parallel processing. The fifth generation computers are based on Artificial Intelligence AI. They try to simulate the human way of thinking and reasoning. The digital computers that are available nowadays vary in their sizes and types.

The computers are broadly classified into four categories Figure 1. Microcomputers are small, low-cost and single-user digital computer. They consist of CPU, input unit, output unit, storage unit and the software. Although microcomputers are stand-alone machines, they can be connected together to create a network of computers that can serve more than one user. Microcomputers include desktop computers, notebook computers or laptop, tablet computer, handheld computer, smart phones and netbook, as shown in Figure 1.

It is a stand-alone machine that can be placed on the desk. Externally, it consists of three units—keyboard, monitor, and a system unit containing the CPU, memory, hard disk drive, etc. It is not very expensive and is suited to the needs of a single user at home, small business units, and organizations. They are portable and have all the features of a desktop computer. The advantage of the laptop is that it is small in size can be put inside a briefcase , can be carried anywhere, has a battery backup and has all the functionality of the desktop.

Laptops can be placed on the lap while working hence the name. Laptops are costlier than the desktop machines. Starting with the earliest netbook in late , they have gained significant popularity now. Netbooks deliver the performance needed to enjoy popular activities like streaming videos or music, emailing, Web surfing or instant messaging.

The word netbook was created as a blend of Internet and notebook. It is a portable computer. Tablet computer are the new kind of PCs. It is small in size. Instead of the keyboard, PDA uses a pen or a stylus for input. PDAs do not have a disk drive. They have a limited memory and are less powerful.

PDAs can be connected to the Internet via a wireless connection. Casio and Apple are some of the manufacturers of PDA. Over the last few years, PDAs have merged into mobile phones to create smart phones. They may use a stylus or a pen, or may have a small keyboard. They can be connected to the Internet wirelessly. They are used to access the electronic-mail, download music, play games, etc. Minicomputers Figure 1. They have high processing speed and high storage capacity than the microcomputers.

Minicomputers can support 4— users simultaneously. The users can access the minicomputer through their PCs or terminal. They are used for real-time applications in industries, research centers, etc. Mainframe computers Figure 1. They operate at a very high speed, have very large storage capacity and can handle the workload of many users. Mainframe computers are large and powerful systems generally used in centralized databases.

The user accesses the mainframe computer via a terminal that may be a dumb terminal, an intelligent terminal or a PC. A dumb terminal cannot store data or do processing of its own. It has the input and output device only. An intelligent terminal has the input and output device, can do processing, but, cannot store data of its own.

The dumb and the intelligent terminal use the processing power and the storage facility of the mainframe computer. Mainframe computers are used in organizations like banks or companies, where many people. Supercomputers Figure 1. They have high processing speed compared to other computers.

Some of the faster supercomputers can perform trillions of calculations per second.

Computer Fundamentals by Anita Goel

Supercomputers are built by interconnecting thousands of processors that can work in parallel. Supercomputers are used for highly calculation-intensive tasks, such as, weather forecasting, climate research global warming , molecular research, biological research, nuclear research and aircraft design.

They are also used in major universities, military agencies and scientific research laboratories. The hardware consists of physical devices of the computer. The devices are required for input. Hardware consists of the mechanical parts that make up the computer as a machine. The parts of computer system are shown in Figure 1. Software instructs the computer about the task to be performed. The hardware needs to be instructed about the task to be performed.

For example. Different software can be loaded on the same hardware to perform different kinds of tasks. They are also known as skinware. The hardware carries out these tasks. Data are isolated values or raw facts. The hardware of the computer system cannot perform any task on its own. January and are processed by the computer to give the date of birth of a person. The data is provided as input to the computer.

Program is a set of instructions. Users are people who write computer programs or interact with the computer. A set of programs and documents are collectively called software. The concept of generating output information from the input 4 data is also referred to as input-process-output concept. For this. During processing. The stored data can be retrieved later.

The input data can be characters. The computer may display the output on a monitor. The action could be an arithmetic or logic calculation. The output may be in the form of text. CPU performs calculations and processing on the input data. Memory Unit. The memory unit is used to store the data. Another kind of storage unit is also referred to as the secondary memory of the computer.

CPU also has a set of registers for temporary storage of data. Computers are used to develop computer-based training packages. For a user. The input data that is to be processed is brought into the main memory before processing. Some of the commonly used output devices are monitor and printer. The input is provided to the computer using input devices like keyboard.

The instructions required for processing of data and any intermediate results are also stored in the main memory. Magnetic disks.

The Input unit converts the data that it accepts from the user. The output is stored in memory before being transferred to the output device. Researchers use computers to get easy access to conference and journal details and to get global access to the research material. The information may be presented to you in the form of text. You may use computer to get information about the reservation of tickets railways. Educators use computers to prepare notes and presentations of their lectures.

The Input unit accepts data from the user and the Output unit provides the processed data i. This memory is also called the main memory or primary memory of the computer. The data. CPU can work with the information stored in the main memory. It is responsible for processing of the input data. For the advertisers. The medical history of patients is stored in the computers. The user can download and view movies. CAT scan machine. They are also used for the purposes of training players.

Computers are also used to create an advertisement using the visual and the sound effects.

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Computers are used for storing the complex data. Computers are also an integral part of various kinds of sophisticated medical equipments like ultrasound machine. Advertisement can be displayed on different websites. The users can also listen to music. Computers also provide assistance to the medical surgeons during critical surgery operations like laparoscopic operations. MRI scan machine. Web advertising has become a significant factor in the marketing plans of almost all companies.

In fact. Complex scientific applications like the launch of the rockets. Jacquard Punched Card System. Microprocessors are embedded in house hold utilities like. Their computation time was in milliseconds. Computers are used for the filing of income tax return. High-level languages were used for programming. The computers became small. The computation time was in microseconds. The websites of the different government departments provide information to the users. A computer may be analog or digital computer.

They used the stored program concept. Slide Rule. These computers were produced commercially. In addition to the applications of the computers discussed above. These were large in size. They consumed less power and required low maintenance compared to their predecessors. The computation time was in nanoseconds.

They were smaller in size. The police department uses computers to search for criminals using fingerprint matching. The list of applications of computers is so long that it is not possible to discuss all of them here. At home. Programs were written in assembly language. They have very high speed. Supercomputers find applications in computing-intensive tasks. Microcomputers include desktop computers.

Mainframe computers are generally used in centralized databases. The fifth generation computers are still being developed. These computers use SLSI chips and have large memory requirements.

CPU and Memory unit are the three main components of computer. CPU processes the input data. The memory unit stores programs. They use parallel processing and are based on AI.

CU and Registers. They became available both to the home user and for commercial use. Name the first calculating device for the counting of large numbers. Section 1. List three significant limitations of the computer. List the main characteristics of the computer. Who is called the Father of Computer? Describe the characteristics of the computer. Give an example each of analog computer and digital computer. What is a calculating machine? Explain briefly the developments in computer technology starting from a simple calculating machine to the first computer.

Define an analog computer and a digital computer. Give two examples of second generation computers. Give two examples of fourth generation computers. List the drawbacks of the first generation computers. Give two examples of first generation computers. Describe the fourth generation computer based on the a Hardware b Software c Computing characteristics d Physical appearance and e Their applications.

Describe the third generation computer based on the a Hardware b Software c Computing characteristics d Physical appearance. Give two examples of third generation computers. List the drawbacks of the third generation computers. List the drawbacks of the second generation computers.

Describe the fifth generation computer based on the a Hardware b Software c Computing characteristics d Physical appearance and e Their applications. List the drawbacks of the fourth generation computers.

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Describe the second generation computer based on the a Hardware b Software c Computing characteristics d Physical appearance and e Their applications. Describe the first generation computer based on the a Hardware b Software c Computing characteristics d Physical appearance. Give two examples of microcomputer.

Define a dumb terminal. Also give at least one example of each generation of computer. Define mainframe computer. Name the supercomputer assembled in India. Highlight the differences between microcomputer. Give two examples of supercomputer. Define an intelligent terminal.

Define a supercomputer. List two uses of the supercomputer. Define minicomputers. Compare in detail the five generations of computers based on the a Hardware b Software c Computing characteristics d Physical appearance and e Their applications. Give two examples of fifth generation computers. Give two examples of minicomputer. Give two examples of mainframe computer. Define microcomputer. List three categories of microcomputers. EDVAC Give full form of the following abbreviations 1.

FLOPS GUI 9. List the components of computer hardware. List the steps in the working of the computer. ALU 4. NLP Explain in detail the components of computer hardware. Write short notes on. SLSI ENIAC LSI 6. VLSI 7. ES Explain the working of the computer. Explain briefly the use of computers in the following areas— a Education. Explain the input-process-output cycle.

AI CPU 2. Define a computer. PDA Differentiate between software. Extra Questions List some areas where the computers are used. Supercomputer Central Processing Unit 5. Netbook Second Generation Computer 9. Third Generation Computer Give differences between the following: Personal Computer PC Mainframe Computers Minicomputers Microcomputers Components of Computer 2. Fifth Generation Computer Tablet Computer History of Computers 7. Fourth Generation Computer Minicomputer and Mainframe Computer 5.

Applications of Computer Mainframe computer and Supercomputer 6. Dumb Terminal and Intelligent Terminal 3. Microcomputer and Minicomputer 4. Input-Process-Output 3. Notebook Computer Analog and Digital Computer 2. Storage Unit 6. First Generation Computer 8. This chapter describes the different hardware components of the computer. Given the components. This chapter discusses the hardware components of the computer and the interaction between them. It includes the specifications of the components.

Given the system specifications. It deals with how the hardware components operate and the way they are connected to form the computer. Different kinds of computer. CPU controls the operations of the computer and processes the received input to generate the relevant output. As a user of the computer.

It also stores the processed output. The memory unit stores the instructions and the data during the input activity. Computer architecture refers to the structure and behavior of the computer. CPU gets data and instructions from the memory. CU controls and coordinates the activity of the other units of computer. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover.

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It covers all the basic hardware and software concepts in computers and its peripherals in a very lucid manner. It features databases, multimedia, internet services an. Get A Copy. Kindle Edition , pages. More Details Other Editions 1. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Computer Fundamentals , please sign up.

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