Introduction to Computers
What is a computer?
A computer is a functional unit constituting of hardware which is operated by software.
Components of a computer
There are two components of a computer: hardware and software.
Hardware is a term used to describe all tangible parts (that is, parts that can be seen and touch) of a computer.
There are mainly five general category of hardware.
ïƒ˜ Input devices are used to put in data into the computer e.g. mouse and keyboard.
ïƒ˜ Central Processing Unit (CPU) is the brain of the computer which handles all the processing. It is being assisted by the Control Unit (CU) and the Arithmetic and Logic Unit. The CU, however, directs the flow of data through the computer while the ALU performs rapid calculations.
ïƒ˜ Output devices are used to put out or display data after being processed e.g. monitor, speaker and printer.
ïƒ˜ Memory is used to temporary stored data and instructions while the computer is on.
ïƒ˜ Storage devices are used to read information from storage medias such as CD-ROM drives, DVD-ROM drives and tape drives while others allows you to read as well as write (save) information. These include floppy drives and USB flash drives.
Peripheral devices are situated exterior of the CPU but are controlled by it e.g. input and output devices.
Software is a term used to describe computer programs.
Computer programs are instructions written in a language understood by computers.
Not only hardware is divided into categories, software is divided into two broad categories. They are system software and application software.
System software, best known as operating system (OS) software, is essential since it manages and controls all aspects of the computer; without it the computer would just not function.
Application software is not essential to a computer because it can still function even though there is none. Application software instructs the computer to carry out specific task.