TOPIC ONE: INTRODUCTION TO COMPUTERS Sub-topic 1.1 Computers Today


SUB TOPIC 1.1: COMPUTERS TODAY

What is a computer?

  • A computer is an electronic device that accepts user input (data), processes it under special instructions (programs), to produce the desired meaningful output (information).
  • Alternatively, a computer can be defined as a programmable machine that receives input, stores and manipulates data, and provides output in a useful format.
  • A Computer is an electronic device which stores and processes data in binary form according to the instructions given to it in available program.
  • A Computer is an automatic machine made up of electronic and electromechanical devices which manipulates and processes data.      
  • A Computer is an electronic device that accepts data input, processes it according to some specified instructions, outputs the information and stores the results for future use.

Characteristics of Modern Computers

(1) Speed
Computers operate at extremely high speeds. Their speed is measured in millions of instructions per second (MIPS).

(2) Automatic

Computers are automatic machines, because once started on a job, they carry on, until the job is finished, without any human assistance. However, computer being machines cannot start them. They cannot go out find their own problems and   solutions. They have to be instructed.

(3) Accuracy
Computers are very accurate. The errors in made computing are due to the users but not technological weakness. If a user enters wrong data, the computer gives wrong Information. This trend is described as GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage Out)

(4) Computers are versatile:
Modern Computers can perform different kinds of tasks at the same time. For example you can play music while typing a document at the same time. This is also known as multi-tasking.

(5) Diligence: this is the ability of a computer to work without getting tired or bored. It can continuously work for hours without creating any error human beings in doing regular types of jobs, which requires great accuracy..

(6) Versatility: It means the capacity to perform many different types of tasks. A computer is capable of performing almost any task, if the task can be reduced to series of logical steps

(7) Artificial Intelligence: This is the ability of a computer to think and reason likes a human being. The computer is capable of mimicking human behaviours like sensing, responding to the stimuli and others.

Basic Terminologies used in Computing

Byte
A byte is a unit of computer memory or digital information that consists of eight binary digits (bits).
NB. 1 byte stores 1 character.

Binary
The number system used to represent digital information in computers where data is expressed by combinations of the digits 0 and 1, corresponding to power states “off” and “on” respectively.

Computer Memory

This acts as a store for digital Data, processed information and programs in a computer system.

RAM (Random Access Memory) is temporary and volatile working memory that contains all the work in progress, since the user last saved to disk.  RAM changes constantly as the computer is used for different tasks and is lost when the computer is switched off

ROM (Read Only Memory. This is also primary memory that stores information and instructions in the computer permanently.

Central Processing Unit (CPU). This is also referred to as the brain of the computer. The CPU is responsible for translation and converting of data into information in the Computer.

c) Why do we study computer studies?

  • To promote creative knowledge for problem solving.

Computing requires and develops capabilities in solving deep, multidimensional problems requiring imagination and sensitivity to a variety of fields.

  • To acquire skills in the use of IT for enhanced productivity and development

This is because the dimensions of computing are part of the necessary skills set for an educated person in the 21st century.

With computer studies, a student gets to acquire the following skills:

  • Technology Skills: Nearly all students will be faced with the need for technology skills when they go to university or enter the workforce.
  • Keyboarding Classes:  Students learn at a young age how to use computers to generate reports, type essays and research homework assignments.
  • Career Preparation: Computer skills learned in school will benefit students during higher education courses and their careers. Students as young as 12 learn how to create Electronic Spreadsheets, Power Point presentations, Databases and Website Design.
  • Online Access: By learning how to use computers, students even in low-income areas have access to the world at large.
  • Adult Learning: Students who are introduced to computer courses at an early age adapt quickly to advances in technology, and typically do not fear additional training and new concepts as adult learners.

Why do we study computer studies?

To get jobs.
Computing offers many types of highly rewarding careers. Computer studies provide a foundation that serves as a competitive advantage in a career, in whatever field one chooses.

Examples of such jobs include: Typists, Computer operators, Computer technicians, System analysts, Computer programmers, Software engineers, Computer engineers, Database administrators, and website masters, Graphic designers, IT Teachers, etc.

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