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They can be classified by the technology from which they were constructed, the uses to which they are put, their capacity or size, the era in which they were used, their basic operating principle and by the kinds of data they process. Some of these classification techniques are discussed as follows:
Classification by their basic operating principle 1. Analog computers: They operate by ―measuring instead of ―counting. The name denotes that the computer functions by establishing similarities between the two quantities.
Analogue types of Computer uses what is known as analogue signals that are represented by a continuous set of varying voltages and are used in scientific research centers?, hospitals and flight centers With analogue types of computer no values are represented by physical measurable quantities e.g. voltages. Analogue computers program arithmetic and logical operations by measuring physical changes i.e. temperatures or pressure.
2. Digital Computers: These computers operate by ―counting‖. All quantities are expressed as discrete digits or numbers.
With these types of computers operation are on electrical input that can attain two inputs, states of ON=1 and state of OFF = 0. Digital computer type recognizes data by counting discrete signal of (0 0r 1), they are high speed programmable; they compute values and stores results. These are useful for evaluating arithmetic expressions
and manipulations of data. 3. Hybrid Computers: Hybrid computer types are very unique, in the sense that they combined both analogue
and digital features and operations. With Hybrid computers operate by using digital to analogue convertor and analogue to digital convertor.
CLASSIFICATION BY Purpose A majority of the computers that are in use are digital. These computers were essentially developed for computations. Later, the developments in the computers led to the use of digital computers in variety of applications. Depending on the use of applications, the digital computers are classified into 1. Special Purpose Computers: These are developed with a specific purpose. Some of the areas where these computers are being used are – soil testing, drip irrigation, medical scanning, traffic signals, spacecraft, rocket technology etc., 2. General Purpose Computers: These are developed to meet the requirements of several areas such as simulation, solving mathematical equations, payroll and personnel database. These computers are available in different sizes and capabilities and are further classified (based on memory, speed, storage).
Classification by Capacity Computers can be generally classified by size and power as follows, though there is considerable overlap:
Micro computers: A small, single-user computer based on a microprocessor. A micro computer is the smallest general purpose processing system. The term microcomputer is generally synonymous with personal computer, or a computer that depends on a microprocessor. • In addition to the microprocessor, a micro computer has a keyboard for entering data, a monitor for displaying information, and a storage device for saving data. • • A microcomputer contains a CPU on a microchip (the microprocessor), a memory system (typically ROM and RAM), a bus system and I/O ports, typically housed
available indigenously and used for large volume applications. Modem etc) and a special connection to connect to the desktop PC which can be used to transfer data. single-user computer. 4. The different models of microcomputers are given below:a) Personal computers:. Sound card. Applications Used in the field of desktop publishing. Microcomputers are tiny computers that can vary in size from a single chip to the size of a desktop model They are designed to be used by only one person at a time Small to medium data storage capacities The common examples of microcomputers are chips used in washing machines.Smallest type of microcomputer – can be worn on our wrist like a watch.IBM PC. Micro Computers E. Large-scale production of silicon chips began in 1971 and this has been of great use in the production of microcomputers.Very small in terms of size – can be folded and carried around – Monitor is made up of LCD and the keyboard and system units are contained in a single box. It can serve multi-users simultaneously . CDD. A workstation is like a personal computer. whether in the form of PCs. Microcomputers are designed to be used by individuals. • Typically. graphic designing. spreadsheet calculations. easy to use even at homes and can be read for variety of applications from small to medium range.in a motherboard. accounting. workstations or notebook computers. It is a midsize multi-user computer capable of supporting from 10 to hundreds of users simultaneously.size is similar to that of a calculator – pocket size. This type of computer system is very flexible and can be expanded to meet the needs of users.g. database management etc. c) Palm Top:. but it has a more powerful microprocessor and a higherquality monitor. d) Wrist PC:. Got all the facilities of a personal computer (HDD. The machine has memories that are generally made of semiconductors fabricated on silicon chips. statistical analysis. entertainment etc capable of handling small. minicomputers have been stand-alone computers (computer systems with attached terminals and other devices) sold to small and mid-size businesses for general business applications and to large enterprises for department-level operations. investment analysis. Operating systems developed for minicomputer systems generally support both multiprogramming and virtual storage. Minicomputer systems provide faster operating speeds and larger storage capacities than microcomputer systems.Smaller model of the microcomputer.:. The ROM defines the instructions to be executed by the computer while RAM is the functional equivalent of computer memory. This means that many programs can be run concurrently. b) Note book or Lap Top:. TVs. billing and payroll. These are self contained units and usually developed for use by one person at a time but can be linked to very large systems. It is a medium sized computer with moderate cost. PS/2 and Apple Macintosh A microcomputer uses a microprocessor as its central Processing Unit. project management.It has a processor and memory and a wireless modem • Minicomputer : In the 1960s. teaching. the growing demand for a smaller stand-alone machine brought about the manufacture of the minicomputer. Cars and Note book/Personal computers. b) • Working station : A powerful. to handle tasks that large computers could not perform economically.The name PC was given by the IBM for its microcomputers. N/W card. single-business application such as sales analysis. They are cheap.It has a processor and memory and a special connection to connect to the desktop PC which can be used to transfer data. The Microcomputer has the lowest level capacity. inventory. PCs are used for word processing.
E.g. Univac 1180. • A supercomputer is typically used for scientific and engineering applications that must handle very large databases or do a great amount of computation (or both).:. as has the distinction between small minicomputers and workstations. Mini Computers E. the distinction between large minicomputers and small mainframes has blurred. Data processing for a medium sized organization Used to control and monitor production processes To analyze results of experiments in laboratories Used as servers in LANs (Local Area Networks) • Mainframe: A powerful multi-user computer capable of supporting many hundreds or thousands of users simultaneously. whereas a mainframe uses its power to execute many programs concurrently.:. A supercomputer is a computer that performs at or near the currently highest operational rate for computers.Digital Equipments PDP 11/45 and VAX 11) Perform better than micros Large in size and costlier than micros Designed to support more than one user at a time Posses large storage capacities and operates at higher speed Support faster peripheral devices like high speed printers Can also communicate with main frames Applications These computers are used when the volume of processing is large for e.g. In some ways. however. very expensive Kept in air conditioned room to keep them cool Supports many I/O and auxiliary storage devices Supports network of terminals Applications Used to process large amount of data at very high speed such as in the case of Banks/ Insurance Companies/ Hospitals/ Railways…which need online processing of large number of transactions and requires massive data storage and processing capabilities They are used in applications like weather forecasting. The chief difference between a supercomputer and a mainframe is that a supercomputer channels all its power into executing a few programs as fast as possible. a minicomputer is a multiprocessing system capable of supporting from up to 200 users simultaneously. Used as controlling nodes in WANs (Wide Area Networks) Used to mange large centralized databases • Supercomputer : An extremely fast computer that can perform hundreds of millions of instructions per second. but are expensive. mainframes are more powerful than supercomputers because they support more simultaneous programs. DEC Able to process large amount of data at very high speed Supports multi-user facility Number of processors varies from one to six. . space applications etc. But in general.IBM 3000 series. They also have large storage and high computing speed (but relatively lower than the super computers). Burroughs B7900.In the past decade.g. 3. • Most supercomputers are really multiple computers that perform parallel processing. But supercomputers can execute a single program faster than a mainframe.
1. Designer of a large bridge has to ensure that the bridge must be proper in various atmospheric conditions and pressures from wind. weather forecasting etc. Anupam by BARC.:.to simulate airflow around an aircraft at different speeds and altitude. weather forecasting requires a supercomputer. These are used for large scale numerical problems in scientific and engineering disciplines such as electronics. accurate weather forecasting and as host processors for local computer. supercomputers sacrifice a certain amount of flexibility.These have extremely large storage capacities and computing speeds which are atleast 10 times faster than other computers. Their speed ranges from 100 million-instruction-per-second to well over three billion..CRAY-1 & CRAY-2. For this reason. (animated) graphics. Other uses of supercomputers scientific simulations. by CRAY computers. Hitachi (S820). Super Computers E. nuclear energy research. Because of their size. In India the indigenous super computer was developed under the name Param. They are therefore not ideal for providing a variety of user services.g. Supercomputers are very expensive and are employed for specialized applications that require immense amounts of mathematical calculations (number crunching). NEC (SX20). reliability and cost effectiveness. and analysis of geological data (e. This helps in producing an effective aerodynamic design for superior performance In Automobile industry – to do crash simulation of the design of an automobile before it is released for manufacturing – for better automobile design In structural mechanics – to solve complex structural engineering problems to ensure safety. The first super computer was developed in U. .g. PARAM 10000 by C-DAC.S. Eg. The supercomputers are the biggest and fastest machines today and they are used when billion or even trillions of calculations are required. These machines are applied in nuclear weapon development.needs a large room Minimum world length is 64 bits high CPU speed Equivalent to 4000 computers High cost: Able to handle large amount of data High power consumption High precision Large and fast memory (Primary and Secondary) Uses multiprocessing and parallel processing Supports multiprogramming Applications In petroleum industry .. velocity etc and under load conditions. electronic design. fluid dynamic calculations. sending rockets to space etc For example. Super computers have capabilities far beyond even the traditional large-scale systems. and time sharing networks. in petrochemical prospecting).A.CRAY Research :.to analyze volumes of seismic data which are gathered during oil seeking explorations to identify areas where there is possibility of getting petroleum products inside the earth In Aerospace industry . Fujitsu (VP2000). PACE Series by DRDO Most powerful Computer system . Meteorological centers use super computers for weather forecasting In Biomedical research – atomic nuclear and plasma analysis – to study the structure of viruses such as that causing AIDS For weapons research and development. Supercomputer is a broad term for one of the fastest computers currently available. supercomputers may need the assistance of a medium-size general purpose machines (usually called front-end processor) to handle minor programs or perform slower speed or smaller volume operation.