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Types of Computers

By Nur Izzati Farhana binti Azman

In this era and age, you can hardly find anyone who does not recognize what a
computer is and how to operate it. However, not just anyone possess a vast
knowledge of the various types of computers out there, apart from their own
personal PCs or laptops, of course. Therefore, it is my pleasure to enlighten fellow
readers out there about the many types of computers and of what purposes are
they used for.

1 Supercomputers
A supercomputer is a PC with awesome pace and memory. This sort of computer
can do tasks quicker than some other computers of its era. They are typically a
large number of times speedier than conventional PCs made at that time. The
reason for this is because unlike other computers, a supercomputer's performance
is measured in floating-point operations per second (FLOPS) instead of million
instructions per second. Supercomputers can do arithmetic jobs very fast, so they
are used for weather forecasting, code-breaking, hereditary investigation and
different occupations that need numerous calculations. As of 2015, there are
supercomputers which can perform up to quadrillions of FLOPS.

Supercomputers were introduced in the 1960s, made initially, and for decades
primarily, by Seymour Cray at Control Data Corporation (CDC), Cray Research and
subsequent companies bearing his name or monogram. Nowadays, at the point
when new PCs of all classes turn out to be more powerful, new ordinary computers
are made with powers that only supercomputers had in the past, while new
supercomputers continue to outclass them.
Supercomputer types include: shared memory, distributed memory and array.
Supercomputers with shared memory are developed by using a parallel computing
and pipelining concept. Supercomputers with distributed memory consist of many
(about 100~10000) nodes. CRAY series of CRAYRESERCH and VP 2400/40, NEC
SX-3 of HUCIS are shared memory types. nCube 3, iPSC/860, AP 1000, NCR 3700,
Paragon XP/S, CM-5 are distributed memory types.

2 Mainframe Computers
Mainframe computers are computers utilized primarily by huge associations for
critical applications, bulk data processing such as census, industry and consumer
statistics, enterprise resource planning, and transaction processing. Until the mid1990s, mainframes provided the only acceptable means of handling the data
processing requirements of a large business. These requirements were then (and
are often now) based on running large and complex programs, such as payroll and
general ledger processing.
Many of today's busiest Web sites store their production databases on a mainframe
host. New mainframe hardware and software products are ideal for Web
transactions because they are designed to allow huge numbers of users and
applications to rapidly and simultaneously access the same data without interfering
with each other. This security, scalability, and reliability is critical to the efficient and
secure operation of contemporary information processing.

Corporations use mainframes for applications that depend on scalability and

reliability. For example, a banking institution could use a mainframe to host the
database of its customer accounts, for which transactions can be submitted from
any of thousands of ATM locations worldwide.
Businesses today rely on the mainframe to:

Perform large-scale transaction processing (thousands of transactions per

Support thousands of users and application programs concurrently accessing

numerous resources
Manage terabytes of information in databases
Handle large-bandwidth communication

IBM is a major manufacturer of mainframes.

3 Minicomputers

A minicomputer, a term no longer much used, is a computer of a size intermediate

between a microcomputer and a mainframe. Typically, 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. In recent years, the

minicomputer has evolved into the "mid-range server" and is part of a network.
IBM's AS/400e is a good example. Unfortunately, minicomputers nowadays are
almost, if not already, obsolete. The decline of the minis happened due to the lower
cost of microprocessor-based hardware, the emergence of inexpensive and easily
deployable local area network systems, the emergence of the 68020, 80286 and the
80386 microprocessors, and the desire of end-users to be less reliant on inflexible
minicomputer manufacturers and IT departments or "data centers". The result was
that minicomputers and computer terminals were replaced by networked
workstations, file servers and PCs in some installations, beginning in the latter half
of the 1980s.

4 Microcomputers (Personal Computers)

A personal computer (PC) is a small, relatively inexpensive computer designed for
an individual user. Software applications for most personal computers include --but
are not limited to -- word processing, spreadsheets, databases, web browsers and email clients, digital media playback, games and many personal productivity and
special-purpose software applications. Modern personal computers often have
connections to the Internet, allowing access to the World Wide Web and a wide
range of other resources. Personal computers may be connected to a local area
network (LAN), either by a cable or a wireless connection. A personal computer may
be a laptop computer or a desktop computer running an operating system such as
Windows, Linux (and the various operating systems based on it), or Macintosh OS.
Personal computers first appeared in the late 1970s. One of the first and most
popular personal computers was the Apple II, introduced in 1977 by Apple
Computer. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, new models and competing
operating systems seemed to appear daily. Then, in 1981, IBM entered the fray with
its first personal computer, known as the IBM PC. The IBM PC quickly became the
personal computer of choice, and most other personal computer manufacturers fell
by the wayside. One of the few companies to survive IBM's onslaught was Apple
Computer, which remains a major player in the personal computer marketplace.

Since the early 1990s, Microsoft operating systems and Intel hardware dominated
much of the personal computer market, first with MS-DOS and then with Windows.
Popular alternatives to Microsoft's Windows operating systems include Apple's OS X
and free open-source Unix-like operating systems such as Linux and BSD. AMD
provides the major alternative to Intel's processors. ARM architecture processors
"sold 15 billion microchips in 2015, which was more than US rival Intel had sold in
its history"and ARM-based smartphones and tablets, those are also effectively
personal computers though not usually described as such now outnumber
traditional PCs (that are by now predominantly Intel-based while a small minority is