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What is a Computer?

  • Computers are not intelligent like us (if we are ;-).
  • A computer merely follows the instructions given to it.
  • For a task to be performed by a computer an individual or group of people write a 'series of instructions'.
  • A logical ‘series of instructions’ is called a program or a procedure.
  • People who write programs are called programmers / coders.
  • When a user wants his computer to perform a task, s/he must run (start, execute, set) a program written for that task.

A computer should be able to perform :

  • basic arithmetical operations (+, -, *, /),
  • relational operations (<, >, =, etc.) and
  • boolean / logical operations (AND, OR, NOT).

It should also be able to store and retrieve data / information. However along with the development of computers many capabilities (like multimedia, communication, etc.) have been added.

Difference between a Computer and a Calculator

A typical computer can follow different programs to perform various tasks (sometimes without user-interventions) while a calculator can't. Calculators are designed to (help us) perform one mathematical operation at a time.



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