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Major Types of Computer System

Updated on December 27, 2014
Analogue Computer
Analogue Computer | Source
Digital Computer
Digital Computer | Source
Hybrid Computer-ECG Machine
Hybrid Computer-ECG Machine | Source

A Clare distinction of Types of Computer System

The breakthrough in technology especially in the 21ist century is more evident in the emergence of different types of computer systems. Each type of computer is met to serve a purpose. There is the general believe that all computers are the same. You will discover a clear distinction at the end of this discourse.

This is why a computer dealer will inquire the purpose a system will serve before an appropriate purchase advice is given. It is possible to buy a system that will not serve its purpose. The term Computer has a wider use in its actual sense.

There are three major types of computer System namely: The analogue, Digital and Hybrid Computer. Each is explain in turn:

1. The Analogue Computer:

The analogue computers are computer System that measure variation in quantities such as temperature, voltage, speed, etc. For example the speedometer in a car measures the changes or variation in speed as the car moves. The Thermometer takes readings in accordance to changes in temperature. This does not require ability for storage as the readings are taken and comparison are made in a single operation.

These are examples of analogue computers. Hence analogue computers can be said to measure data that vary continuously. By implication analogue computers is not premised on discrete values. More examples of analogue computers are Voltmeter and ammeter.

The emergence of digital computers made analogue computers of less importance. Though it is still been used when dynamic systems such as nuclear power plants, space light etc. are been simulated. Analogue devices are commonly used even in the modern day hospital to measure blood pressure and body temperature.

Analogue computers are easy and inexpensive to operate. It is reputed for its ability to solve complex equations at an appreciable speed more than digital computers. Its major drawback is the degree of accuracy which is a major advantage of digital computing. Analogue computers were popular in the 1940s and 1950s. They were the first set of computers that form the basis for the development of modern digital computers.

2. Digital Computers:

Digital computers count things in contrast to analogue computer that measure things. This has to do with the manipulation of discontinuous numbers and letters which are represented by the binary digits (bits).

A digital computer uses the binary arithmetic concept when numbers and letters are represented by combinations of zero’s and one’s only (0 and 1). The figures are manipulated in a discrete form from one state to the other. 0 and 1 are used to represent all figures and information in a digital form. In other words texts and graphics are treated numerically.

This can be used to organized or processed large amount of data, video conferencing, weather forecasting etc. One of the major advantages of digital computer over analogue computer is greater degree of accuracy. Processed data can be stored and retrieved easily when needed.

The main components in digital computer are the central processing unit (CPU) and Random Access Memory (RAM) which determine the processing speed of the system. Other key components are the hard drive for storage and operating system such as Microsoft windows, Android, Macintosh etc. Digital computer OS made it a multi-task operating environment. This differentiate digital computer from other form of computers and even in the classification of digital computers.

Majority of the computer in use today by firms, individuals and governments are digital computers. Examples of digital computers are Desktop or personal computers, work stations, Tablet Computer etc.

3. Hybrid Computer:

Hybrid computer System possesses the attributes of both analogue and digital computer. They can covert from analogue to digital and digital to analogue signals. This provides an economic way of dealing with both digital and analogue conversions. Example of hybrid computer is the ECG machine the hospital uses. It can convert the analogue record of a heartbeat into a digital form.

Major types of computer system to some analysts are synonymous with Classifications of Computer systems. However, for the sake of simplicity, Classification of computer system has been discussed separately in one of my articles in this website. Each of the above types of computer has different variants especially with the emergence of latest technology in computing.

Feel free to make your comments with respect to this very crucial and foundational topic in the parlance of computing.


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