What is a computer ?

Computer Definition

A computer is a electronic device that accepts information and manipulates it or data. It has the ability to store, retrieve, and process data.


The term computer is derived from the Latin term “computare, it means that It is a calculate machine or programmable machine. Computer can not do anything without a Program. It represents the decimal numbers through a string of binary digits. The Word “Computer” usually refers to the Center Processor Unit plus Internal memory.


“Charles Babbage”  is called the “Father of the computer”. The First mechanical computer designed by Charles Babbage was called Analytical Engine. It uses read-only memory in the form of punch cards.


Computer is an advanced electronic device that takes raw data as input from the user and processes these data under the control of set of instructions (called program) and gives the result (output) and saves output for the future use. It can process both numerical and non-numerical (arithmetic and logical) calculations.


A computer system consists of two major elements:

Hardware and software. Computer hardware is the collection of all the parts you can physically touch. Computer software, on the other hand, is not something you can touch. Software is a set of instructions for a computer to perform specific operations. You need both hardware and software for a computer system to work.

Functionalities of a Computer

Any Digital Computer has five functions :

  • Takes data as input.
  • Stores the data/instructions in its memory and use them when required.
  • Processes the data and converts it into useful information.
  • Generates the output
  • Controls all the above four steps.



Advantages of Computer :

1. High Speed

Computer is a very fast device. It is capable of performing calculation of very large amount of data. The computer has units of speed in microsecond, nanosecond, and even the picoseconds. It can perform millions of calculations in a few seconds as compared to man who will spend many months for doing the same task.

2. Accuracy

In addition to being very fast, computers are very accurate. The calculations are 100% error free.Computers perform all jobs with 100% accuracy provided that correct input has been given.

3. Storage Capacity        

Memory is a very important characteristic of computers. A computer has much more storage capacity than human beings. It can store large amount of data. It can store any type of data such as images, videos, text, audio and many others.

4. Diligence

Unlike human beings, a computer is free from monotony, tiredness and lack of concentration.It can work continuously without any error and boredom.It can do repeated work with same speed and accuracy.


A computer is a very versatile machine. A computer is very flexible in performing the jobs to be done. This machine can be used to solve the problems related to various fields. At one instance, it may be solving a complex scientific problem and the very next moment it may be playing a card game.

6. Reliability

A computer is a reliable machine. Modern electronic components have long lives.Computers are designed to make maintenance easy.


Computer is an automatic machine. Automation means ability to perform the given task automatically. Once a program is given to computer i.e., stored in computer memory, the program and instruction can control the program execution without human interaction.

8. Reduction in Paper Work

The use of computers for data processing in an organization leads to reduction in paper work and results in speeding up a process.As data in electronic files can be retrieved as and when required, the problem of maintenance of large number of paper files gets reduced.

9. Reduction in Cost

Though the initial investment for installing a computer is high but it substantially reduces the cost of each of its transaction.

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