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Types of Computer

Updated on February 20, 2019

Computer Types

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Computer types

What Are the Physical Types of Computer?

A computer is a gadget that electronically accepts data through an input device, process and output the desired product. Data is processed and output according to the type of a computer and the instruction given by the user. Computers will act and react on the basis of instruction issued known as commands. As much as they are intelligent computers can’t think like human beings and are prone to errors if the instruction can’t be interpreted. For any type of a computer to operate, there has to be software installed to process commands, power and a user to issues instructions. Computers can either perform arithmetic or logical operations. Arithmetic are basically mathematical functions while logical functions refers set of special symbols and words such as AND, OR, NOT etc.

Types of Computers have evolved over time from first generation in 1940 to the current fifth generation (Artificial intelligence). The evolution has resulted into various computer types with different set of rules on information processing. Classification of computers types have been done according to how they operate that is input, process and output information. Various computer types had specific data input devices i.e. the first generation had the punched cards and paper tape. The second generation had none integrated discrete transistors. The general principle on classification of computer types is based on their functionalities and features broadly grouped into three categories.

Analoge Computers

The analoge types of Computer uses what is known as analoge signals? These signals are represented by a continuous set of varying voltages. These computers are used for scientific research in hospital and flight centers. With analogue types of computer no values are represented by physical measurable quantities e.g. voltages. Both arithmetic and logical operation are done by measuring physical changes. I.e. change in temperature or pressure. Examples of analogues electronic are the speedometers, thermometer, and slide rule among others. Analoges systems are much faster due to the ability to solve complex mathematical equations. Examples of faster analogue devices are the telephones, recording systems etc.

Digital Computer type

With these types of computers operation are on electrical input that can attain two inputs, states of ON=1 and state of OFF = 0. Data is represented by digital of 0 and 1 or off state and on state. Digital computer type recognizes data by counting discrete signal of (0 0r 1), they are high speed programmable machines. They compute process and stores results which can later be retrieved. The modern computers such as PC and Laptops are the digital type of computers used in aviation industry, business entities, hospitals, command forces. Example of digital computers are the Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) which is an embedded computer, PDA, Smartphone’s, Personal Computers, Laptops, Tablet among others. The first digital computer was conceived by Charles Babbage in the 1830s when he invented the Analytical Engine Machine. The machine was the first to perform both arithmetic operations and logical decisions.

Hybrid type of Computer
Hybrid computer types are very unique, in the sense that they combined both analogue and digital features and operations with the digital unit performing arithmetic and logical decision making. Hybrid computers operate by using digital to analogue converter and analogue to digital converter. By linking the two types of computer above you come up with this new computer type called Hybrid. In 1961 Packard Bell released Hycomp 250 which was the first hybrid desktop. Laptop is an example of a hybrid computer that has the input, processing unit and the output as a single entity. Hybrid systems are slowly but steadily growing with much better and faster features. But all in all, analogue systems perform much faster than the digital and hybrid system due to their complexity in nature.

I hope this article on computer types gives you a basic foundation of how computers are classified and how they operate. Next article will focuses on computer sizes definition and characteristics, and if you found information relevant please help share these to as many people as possible whom you think would benefit from them. Your input is highly appreciate to make the world of computing even better by leaving a useful comment below. You can proceed and check my other articles on computers.


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