Technical foundation of system.

Computer Technology

Computer Basics

Definition of a Computer 

A computer is a universal Information manipulator. manipulator. A computer as an electronic machine capable of solving problems by processing or manipulating information according to instructions that have been given to it. An electronic device that takes input from its user, stores, processes data & generates the required output as per the processing instructions given to it user.

What Is a Computer? 

A computer is defined in the following ways
By the work it does  By the kind of information it handles  By its size and price  

An electronic machine, operating under the control of instructions stored in its own memory, that can accept data (input), manipulate data according to specified rules (process), produce results (output), and store the results for future use.

Basic Functions 

A computer is a device that performs four functions: it inputs data (getting information into the machine); it stores data (holding the information before and after processing); it processes data (performing prescribed mathematical and logical operations on the information at high speed); and it outputs data (sending the results out to the user via some display method).

Data Processing cycle

What Is a Computer?
Processing Output. Data Processing cycle Input - Input Devices feed the computer the raw matter ² facts or data. Processing ² the storage of data, numerical comparisons, arithmetic operations are performed on data to produce desired results. Output ² the processed data or information is sent to the out put device connected to computer. computer. 


The Information Processing Cycle





Parts of a Computer 

There are two basic parts that make up a computer...
Hardware Software

What Is A Computer System? 

Hardware: Hardware: the tangible, physical equipment that can be seen and touched such as:
Computer Case  Monitor  Keyboard and Mouse  Disk Drive  Speakers  

Software: Software: the intangible set of instructions that tells the computer what to do; know as programs or software programs. 

Two types: application and system software programs 

Data: information entered into the computer to be processed, which consists of the following: 

Text, numbers, sounds, and images 

People: the users of the computers who enter the data and use the output.

Computer System Hardware Components 

Computer system hardware components include devices that perform the functions of input, processing, communication, data storage and output of an information system.

Computer Hardware 

Case Power switch Reset switch Hard drive Floppy CD/DVD Serial ports Parallel port USB port 


Keyboard/mouse Network card Modem Sound card Video card RAM Motherboard Fan Cables

System unit 

Case that holds the power supply, storage devices, and the circuit boards (including the motherboard).

CPU (Central Processing Unit) 

Where the processing in a computer takes place, often called the brain of the computer.

Computer Processing
Once information has been sent to a computer by one of the input devices it·s processed. The computer uses it·s brain to process the information. The computer·s brain is called the CPU, or Central Processing Unit.

The CPU is also called the microprocessor. The word ´microµ means small. Since the CPU is located on a small computer chip about 1 inch square, that makes sense!

Random Access Memory
When a computer processes information, it uses software programs. Each program requires a certain amount of electronic memory, or RAM (Random Access Memory) to run correctly.

RAM is temporary memory. The computer holds information in this memory and gets it when it needs it. If a computer has more RAM, it can solve problems and process information faster! If you·re updating your computer, more RAM is a great thing to add!

Read-Only Memory ReadA second kind of computer memory is ROM, which stands for Read-Only Memory. This memory is permanent. The information there was put there when the computer was made. The computer needs the information in it·s ROM memory in order to function.

Input Devices 

Units that gather information and transform that information it into a series of electronic signals for the computer.


An arrangement of letters, numbers, and special function keys that act as the primary input device to the computer.


An input device that allows the user to manipulate objects on the screen by moving the device along the surface of a desk.

Sound Card 

A circuit board that gives the computer the ability to accept audio input, play sound files, and produce audio output through speakers or headphones.


A device that sends and receives data to and from computers over telephone lines.

Output Devices 

Devices that display, print, or transmit the results of processing from the computer·s memory.


Display device that forms an image by converting electrical signals from the computer into points of colored light on the screen.  Resolution  The density of the grid used to display or print text and graphics; the greater the horizontal and vertical density, the higher the resolution.  Pixels  The smallest unit in a graphic image; computer display devices use a matrix of pixels to display text and graphics.


Output device that produces text or graphical images on paper.


Output devices that receive signals from the computer·s sound card to play music, narration, or sound effects.

What are all those parts inside my computer and what do they do???

Computer Hardware 

Hard Drive Motherboard Sound Card and Video Card Memory Card Power Supply NIC Card BIOS

Hard Disk Drive
The Hard Disk Drive is a magnetic storage device. All the computer programs and files you create and save are located there. This is permanent storage (at least until you uninstall software or delete a file). The hard drive is normally signified by the drive letter ´Cµ. Today·s hard drives can store a HUGE amount of information.

Inside the Hard Disk Drive case you·ll find circular disks that are made of steel. On the disks, there are many tracks, or cylinders. An electronic reading device called the head passes back and forth over the cylinders, reading information from the disk or writing to it.

Hard Disk Drives use Magnetic Recording Techniques. The magnetic medium can be easily erased and rewritten and will ´rememberµ the magnetic change patterns stored on it for many years!

Hard Disk Drives can spin at 7200 or more rpm·s (Revolutions Per Minute). That means in one minute, the hard drive spins around more than 7200 times!

The Motherboard

Your computer couldn·t work without the motherboard. It ties everything together! It allows every part of your computer to receive power and communicate with each other. Everything that runs the computer or enhances it·s performance is either part of the motherboard or plugs into one of it·s expansion slots or ports.

Sound and Video Cards

Sound and Video Cards are Output Devices. They contain special circuits that allow your computer to play sounds and display graphics on your monitor.

Memory Card
Remember RAM (Random Access Memory) and ROM (Read-Only Memory)? RAM cards will remember what you tell them and can even change to remember new information. But, when the computer is turned off, it forgets everything you did! That·s why you always save your work! ROM is good at remembering, but cannot change it·s mind. It holds the information that was built into it!

Power Supply
If there is any one component that is absolutely vital to the operation of a computer, it is the power supply! Without it, a computer is just a box full of plastic and metal. The power supply converts the alternating current (AC) line to the direct current (DC) needed by the computer.

You can see the power supply from the back of your computer because of the power cord and the cooling fan. Computers put out a LOT of heat and need the fan to keep them from overheating.

Network Interface Card
A NIC card (Network Interface Card) allows your computer to talk to other computers! A cable called Cat5 is plugged into the NIC card and your computer can then be attached to a network and be on the internet!

A BIOS chip (Basic Input Output System) is a very important computer component. In simple terms, the BIOS chip wakes up the computer when you turn it on and reminds it what parts it has and what they do!

Bytes, Kilobytes, Megabytes and Gigabytes 

Byte 8 Bits=1 byte KB Kilobyte=1,000 bytes MB Megabyte=1,000,000 (1 million) bytes GB Gigabyte=1,000,000,000 (1 billion) bytes

I·ve heard those words, but what·s a Byte??
All the information that moves through your computer is based on 2 commands. That·s all, just two. The two commands are ON and OFF. They are symbolized by 1·s and 0·s.

That·s right! The only information your computer can understand is ON (1) and OFF (0)! The millions of combinations of those two commands given in series are what makes your computer work.

The memory chips in your computer are divided into thousands of tiny compartments called bits. Each and every bit has an electronic switch, or gate. ON means the gate is open and letting electricity through.

Remember, the computer reads ON or open bits or switches as the number 1. Closed switches are OFF because electricity can·t get through. The computer reads OFF bits or switches as 0.

It is by grouping these bits together to form 1/0 commands that data is formed. Remember bytes? Eight bits are grouped together to form one byte. In that group of 8, there are 256 possible combinations of 1/0. The grouping of 1/0 within a byte is called Binary Code. Binary Code is the language of computers.

Here is an example of Binary Code: when you type in the letter A on your keyboard, electrical signals are sent from the keyboard to the CPU. The CPU turns the signals into Binary Code. Then the computer reads the code and sends it on to the monitor to display the letter A. All of that happens in an instant!

So what about Megabytes and Gigabytes????

Megabytes and Gigabytes
One megabyte equals one million bytes. So, a computer with 512 megabytes of RAM (Random Access Memory) means the computer can handle 512,000,000 (512 million) bytes of RAM. Hard disk space is also measured in bytes. So, a 200 GB Hard Disk Drive has 200,000,000,000 (200 billion) bytes for storing memory!

To get an idea of how much on/off (1/0) data a computer can store, imagine pressing any key 1 billion times. How long would it take?

You would have to press a key 5 times a second non-stop for over 6 YEARS to reach 1 billion keystrokes. One billion keystrokes equals just 1 GB of memory! Think about that the next time you think a webpage is loading too slowly!

Types of Computers

By Size & Capacity 

Based on Performance ² speed of processing instruction, size & storage.

Micro computer Workstation Mainframe computer Super computer

By Size & Capacity Microcomputer
1. A microcomputer is a computer that has a Microprocessor chip as its CPU. They are often called personal computers because they are designed to be used by one person at a time.  Personal computers are typically used at home, at school, or at a business.  Popular uses for microcomputers include word processing, surfing the web, sending and receiving eemail, spreadsheet, calculations, database management, editing photographs, creating graphics, and playing music or games.

By Size & Capacity
Personal computers come in two major varieties depending on size storage, speed & portables ,  Desktop computers  Portable computers: computers: 1.1 Desktop computers are larger and not meant to be portable. They usually sit in one place on a desk or table and are plugged into a wall outlet for power. 

Desktop computers   

The case of the computer holds the mother board, drives, board, drives, power supply, and expansion cards. cards. This case may lay flat on the desk, or it may be a tower that stands vertically (on the desk or under it). The computer usually has a separate monitor (either a CRT or LCD) although some designs LCD) have a display built into the case. A separate keyboard and mouse allow the user to input data and commands.

Desktop Computer


Various types of Portables: 1.2 Laptop or notebook computers are small and lightweight enough to be carried around with the user. They run on battery power, but can also be plugged into a wall outlet. They typically have a built-in LCD builtdisplay that folds down to protect the display when the computer is carried around. They also feature a built-in keyboard and some kind builtof built-in pointing device (such as a touch pad). built-

Laptop / Notebook

PDAs and Palmtop Computers    

A Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) is a handheld PDA) microcomputer that trades off power for small size and greater portability. They typically use a touch-sensitive LCD screen for touchboth output and input (the user draws characters and presses icons on the screen with a stylus). PDAs communicate with desktop computers and with each other either by cable connection, infrared (IR) beam, or radio waves. PDAs are normally used to keep track of appointment calendars, to-do lists, address books, toand for taking notes.

Personal Digital Assistant

Palmtop Computers   

A palmtop or handheld PC is a very small microcomputer that also sacrifices power for small size and portability. These devices typically look more like a tiny laptop than a PDA, with a flip-up screen and small flipkeyboard. They may use Windows CE or similar operating system for handheld devices. Some PDAs and palmtops contain wireless networking or cell phone devices so that users can check e-mail or surf the web on the move. e-

Palmtop Computers

2.Workstation /Servers
A workstation is a powerful, high-end highmicrocomputer. They contain one or more microprocessor CPUs. They may be used by a single-user for applications requiring more singlepower than a typical PC (rendering complex graphics, or performing intensive scientific calculations).  Alternately, workstation-class workstationmicrocomputers may be used as server computers that supply files to client computers over a network.

Workstation /Servers 

This class of powerful microcomputers can also be used to handle the processing for many users simultaneously who are connected via terminals; in this respect, highhigh-end workstations have essentially supplanted the role of minicomputers

3. Main Frame Computer:   

A mainframe computer is a large, powerful computer that handles the processing for many users simultaneously (up to several hundred users). The name mainframe originated after minicomputers appeared in the 1960·s to distinguish the larger systems from the smaller minicomputers. Users connect to the mainframe using terminals and submit their tasks for processing by the mainframe

Main frame Computer:   

They are used in situations where a company wants the processing power and information storage in a centralized location. location. Mainframes are also now being used as highhighcapacity server connection for networks with many client workstations. Examples: High process like -ATM

Mainframe computer (this IBM z-series computer is about 6 feet tall)

4. Super computer:
A supercomputer is mainframe computer that has been optimized for speed and processing power.  Handles mostly complex scientific & statistical applications / program.  High technology - used for special purpose.  High memory capacity ² > 8.4 millions  

Supercomputers are used for highly calculationcalculationintensive tasks such as problems involving quantum mechanical physics, Weather Forecasting climate research (including research into global warming), molecular modeling (computing the structures and properties of chemical compounds, biological macromolecules, polymers, and crystals) physical simulations (such as simulation of airplanes in wind tunnels simulation of the detonation of nuclear weapons, and research into nuclear fusion).

Super computer:  

Major universities, military agencies and scientific research laboratories are heavy users. The most famous series of supercomputers were designed by the company founded and named after Seymour Cray. The Cray-1 was Craybuilt in the 1976 and installed at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Super computer The Cray - 1 was the world's fastest computer from 1985 to 1989.

A Blue Gene/L cabinet. IBM's Blue Gene/L is the fastest supercomputer in the world.

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