09 Jan 2018

Computer Awareness

Computer Awareness :


Charles Babbage is considered to be the father of computing/the computer after his invention and concept of the Analytical Engine in 1837. But 1941 marks the birth year of computer technology with the invention of the Z3 by a German engineer Konrad Zuse.

1940-1956: 1st Generation (Vacuum Tubes) – General Computer Awareness for Bank Exams
First generation computers used vacuum tubes as components of memory and relied on ‘machine language’ (the most basic programming language). A vacuum tube is a sealed glass tube containing a near-vacuum which allows the free passage of electric current.

  • These computers were limited to solving one problem at a time.
  • No monitors were there! Output was released in printouts! (Monitors appeared in 3rd generation of computers!)
  • Input was based on punched cards and paper tape.
  • ENIAC (Electronic Numeric Integrated and Calculator) was the world’s 1st successful electronic computer which was developed by the two scientists namely J. P. Eckert and J. W. Mauchy.
  • Other first generation computers were UNIVAC (Universal Automatic Computer), EDSAC (Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Calculator), EDVAC (Electronic Discrete Variable Automatic Computer) and LEO (Lyons Electronic Office)

1956-1963: 2nd Generation (Transistors) – General Computer Awareness for Bank Exams
The thing that upgraded the entire generation of computers to a more advanced system was – transistor. Invented in 1947, it converts electronic signals and electrical power. Transistors made computers smaller, faster, cheaper and less heavy on electricity use.

  • The speed of a computer’s performance depends on the speed of transistors.
  • In other words, the faster the transistors, the faster the computer.
  • The 2nd generation computers still relied on punched cards for input/printouts like 1st generation.
  • The symbolic language (assembly language) was developed and the programmers could create instructions in words.
  • High-level programming languages – early versions of COBOL* and FORTRAN** – were also developed.
    —–COBOL – Common Business-Oriented Language: a compiled English-like computer programming language designed for business use.
    ——FORTRAN – Formula Translation: a language for scientific, engineering and numerical computation.

1964-1971: 3rd Generation (Integrated Circuits) – General Computer Awareness
With the invention of Integrated Circuits – the small circuits which can perform the functions of a larger circuit, transistors were miniaturized and put on silicon chips.

  • The 3rd generation computers were the first computers where users interacted using keyboards and monitors (and interfaced with an operating system).
  • This enabled these machines to run several applications at once.
  • Functions were based on monitor memory.

1972-2010: 4th Generation (Microprocessors) – General Computer Awareness for Bank Exams

  • The Intel 4004 chip was developed in 1971, which positioned all computer components (CPU, memory, input/output controls) onto one single chip!
  • The Intel 4004 was developed by Ted Hoff.
  • These microprocessors allowed to make computers of smaller size with speedy and efficient processing.

2010 onwards: 5th Generation (Artificial Intelligence) – General Computer Awareness

  • The intelligent machines who can work like humans, or better.
  • SIRI of iPhones, automatic cars, robots serving various purposes, all of them are part of this generation.
  • Artificial intelligence today is properly known as narrow AI (or weak AI)
  • It is designed to perform a specified task like driving or solving complex mathematical equations.
  • General AI or strong AI is the aim of today’s world where machines can perform many functions like humans.

What are the components of a computer?

Hardware means Keyboard, Monitor, Mouse, and Printer, including the digital circuitry, etc. The following are the different types of hardware:

  1. Input devices:
    Send data to a computer. E.g. Keyboard, mouse, scanner, trackball, touchpad, touchscreen, digital camera, web camera, microphone, etc.
  2. Output devices:
    Receive data from a computer, usually for display, projection, or physical reproduction. E.g. Monitor, printers, plotters, projector, Computer Output Microfilm (COM), speaker, head phone, sound card, video card, microfiche, etc.
  3. Processing devices:
    CPU and Mother board are processing devices because they process information within the computer system.
    The Central Processing Unit or the CPU or processor is the electronic circuitry within a computer that carries out the instructions by performing the basic arithmetic, logical, control and input/output operations specified by the instructions.

The CPU consists of:

  1. Arithmetic & Logic Unit
  2. Control Unit
  3. Memory

⇒ The Arithmetic & Logic Unit (ALU) performs simple arithmetic and logical operations.

⇒ The Control Unit (CU) manages various components of the computer. It reads and interprets instructions from memory and transforms them into a series of signals to activate other parts of the computer. The control unit calls upon the arithmetic logic unit to perform the necessary calculations.

⇒ Primary storage or main memory or memory is the area in a computer in which data is stored for quick access by the computer’s processor. Random Access Memory (RAM) and cache are examples of a primary storage device.
Remember, RAM is volatile because whatever is stored in RAM is lost as soon as the computer is switched off. Cache is a fast temporary storage where recently or frequently used information is stored to avoid having to reload it from a slower storage medium.

⇒ The mother board holds and allows communication between many of the crucial electronic components of a system, such as the CPU and memory. It provides connectors for other peripherals.

Storage devices:
1. Primary storage – RAM, cache.
2. Secondary storage – In these devices, information can be stored either temporarily or permanently.
3. They can be external devices like a compact disc (CD) or USB storage device or can be installed inside the computer like a hard drive.

⇒ Software
A software is a set of instructions that directs a computer’s hardware to perform a task. There are two types of software: system software and application software.

System software:
System software is designed to operate the computer hardware and to provide a platform for running application software. Application software are designed to help the user to perform specific tasks like MS Word, Notepad, Google Chrome, and Calculator.

Application Software:
This software is used to modify text, image, graphics etc.
There are many application Softwares, Word Processing software, Database Software, Spreadsheet software, Presentational Software, Educational Software etc to name a few.

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