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What is a Computer?

You are here Home Theory Notes Some General Concepts What is a Computer?

Computers come in a huge variety of shapes, and sizes. You will be most familiar with Personal Computers (PCs) the small computer on your desk, or the laptop in your bag. However there are some computers that fill whole buildings and others that are small enough to fit in a slim mobile telephone. Whatever the size, all computers do the same thing

A computer is a device that stores and processes information according to a set of instructions.
In other words, a computer is a device that you feed information into and it does something with the information (processes it) based on some instructions (a program) that it has been given.

An Information Processing System

A computer is an information processing system... The huge room-sized 'mainframe' above and the tiny mobile phone circuitboard below it are both computers

It doesnt matter what type of computer we are looking at, or what programs the computer is running, it always takes in information and does something with it. For example, a spreadsheet running on a personal computer...

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Or a game being played on a games console (these are computers too)...


You are here Home Theory Notes Some General Concepts What is a Computer? Steve Copley

Home Read Me First! Theory Notes List of Topics Some General Concepts What is ICT?

Data and Information What is a System? What is a Computer? Bits and Bytes 1. Types and Components of Computers Hardware and Software Main Computer Components What is an Operating System? User Interfaces Types of Computer 2. Input and Output Devices Input - Keyboards Input - Pointing Devices Input - Audio / Visual Devices Input - Card Readers Input - Reading Text / Codes Input - Sensors Input - Remote Control Output - Audio / Visual Output - Printing / Plotting Output - Control Actuators 3. Storage Devices and Media What is Data Storage? Backing Storage vs Main Memory Storage Media & Devices Accessing Stored Data Data Storage Capacity Data Access Speeds Magnetic Storage Devices / Media Optical Storage Devices / Media Solid-State Storage Devices Backing Up Data 4. Computer Networks What is a Network? Why Use Networks? Why Not Use Networks? Computers in a Network Types of Network LAN Topologies Networking Hardware The Internet Intranets Setting Up a Small Network Network & Data Security 5. Data Type and Organisation Different Data Types Data Organisation Types of Database Analogue and Digital Data 6. The Effects of Using ICT Social Effects of ICT Health Effects of ICT Safety Issues with ICT Hacking and Hackers Malware and Viruses Software Copyright Internet Developments Internet Use Issues 7.1 ICT Use in Everyday Life Communicating Ideas

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Handling Data Measuring Things Controlling Things On the Screen Controlling Real-World Things Modelling Things 7.2 ICT Use in the Workplace Modes of Computer Use Preventing Data Misuse Communication Systems Publicity & Corporate Image Expert Systems Manufacturing Products Booking Systems Banking & Payment Systems Payroll Processing Retail (Selling) Systems Stock Control Systems Medical & Hospital Systems School Management Systems Library Systems 8 Systems Analysis & Design What is Systems Analysis? Researching the Present System Analysing the Present System Designing a New System Testing the New System Documenting the New System Implementing the New System Evaluating the New System Practical Advice Communication (E-Mail & Web) Sending E-Mail Searching a Website Downloading Files Document Production (Word-Processing) Data Manipulation (Databases) Integration (Combining Stuff) Output Data (Printing & Exporting) Data Analysis (Spreadsheets) Website Authoring Presentation Authoring (Slideshows) CIE Syllabus 2010 CIE Syllabus 2011 CIE Syllabus 2012 CIE Syllabus CIE Past Papers Site Search Help Forums ICT Links Site News Contact Me

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(Click the '+' next to any topic to expand it)