Computer is most important device for this era. The computer technology has almost changed the world in short times. It becomes very essential tool in every walk of human life. The word computer is developed from the Latin word ‘coputare’ which means “To calculate or to compute”. Roughly we can say the machine which calculates is called a computer; but it is incomplete, In fact a computer is a programmable electronic calculating machine. It received data through it input devices, process it and produce output as our requirement with in a second. With help of computer technology a person can communicate to other people from one place to another place of the world through telephone, telex, fax, e-mail etc within a minute. A computer accepts data from an input device and processes it into useful information which it displays on its output device. It operates under the control of a set of instructions that is stored in its memory unit.
Definition of computer
A computer is an electronic device that accepts data; process it according to a set command and then gives results. In other words a computer is an electronic machine that is used for data processing to produce information.
With viewpoints of this definition computer is said to be Electronic calculating machine, Programmable machine, Data processing device, Networking device, Automatic system etc...
The computer has following basic system and components devices to process data and gets the output. It has optional components too.
Input device - keyboard, mouse
Processing device – Central Processing Unit (CPU)
Output device – Monitor and Printer
CPU Consists motherboard, hard disk, floppy disk drive, sound card, power supply, modem, etc.
A complete basic components set of these devices is called a computer. Computer may have optional devices too.
Capacity & functions
450ch/sec, 1-18 Pg/min, 4-24 Pg/min
Flat bed type & Handheld type
Reads/writes on DVD
Reads/writes on Zip disk
Reads/writes on Pen drive
Internal & External type
Features (Characteristics of computer)
Computer is very important and useful device for everywhere of a human being of this century. This is due to its major capacity or features. There are some important features.
Computer is an automatic calculating machine; any given a job it performs independently without assistance of human being.
High processing speed
A computer is a very fast processing device .It can perform in a few seconds, the amount of work that a human being can do in an entire year. It can perform data processing job very fast usually measure in micro second (10-6), nano second (10-9) and Pico second (10-12).
Computer is working its job very accurate. A computer performs every calculation with the same accuracy. However the mistake may occur; if any mistake found in it is not due to the mistake of computer but the mistake of programmer. It works consistently and accurately throughout the time.
Individual components of computer have a very high life and degree of reliability. Computer is only a machine and it does not make errors on its own. So computer is reliable device.
Diligence (Stay constant)
Computer is a machine .It is free from monotony, tiredness and lack of concentration. It can continuously work for hours without creating any error and without grumbling
Versatility (Simple to complicated jobs)
Versatile is one of the most wonderful things for a computer. It is capable to performing almost any task if the task is reduced to the finite series of logical steps .Once moment it is preparing result of an examination next it is busy to prepare electricity bills and in between it help to type a business letter.
Huge storing device
Computer has huge storing capacity. It can store a large number of data in it. The secondary storage device is used for it. Thousands of books can be store in a small chip.
1 Kilobyte = 1024 characters/symbol = 103 bytes around
1 Megabyte = 1024x1024 ʺ = 106 ʺ
1 Gigabyte = 1024x1024x1024 ʺ = 109 ʺ
1 Terabyte = 1024x1024x1024x1024 ʺ = 1012 ʺ
In accordance the computer has huge storage capacity.
World Wide Networking
Computers are connected to word wide. Through internet a person from any place to the other person in any place of the world can talk, share picture etc .in a moment, a person get any kind of information through computer .This is all with the help of computer and its word wide network.
No I.Q. and Feeling
Computer is a machine. It is free from any kind of emotion and feeling. It is not a magical device also. Though it perform the task as human being does but it has no brain as like a human brain.
Impact of the Computer Technology in the Society
In the world today, computer awareness, use and its impact is increasing in a very high speed day by day. Compared to other technologies, it is developing and changing very frequently. It is a multi-dimensional technology, which can create a multidimensional effect in the all round development of the person, the society and the country. It can help the society providing quality service cost effectively. That is why people are adapting this technology very fast. At present, we have seen that people from different sectors like doctors, engineers, managers, teachers, researchers, businessmen, industrialists and students etc. are using the computers. Using this technology, they are increasing their living standards, economic status, and personal working capacity and so on.
It can bring rapid progress and prosperity in the country. Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and others are good examples. To develop the country and society, the revolution of agriculture had taken more than thousand years and the industrial revolution had taken about a century. But the revolution of technology has taken only about 25 years to change the society and country. It is a very fast changing technology, which can accelerate the developing speed of the nation. It can bring fast economical revolution to the country. It can quickly change the life style to bring prosperity. Therefore, it can impact the society in multiple ways. Advantage and disadvantage of the technology are as follows.
Higher Quality Product
Recreational and educational benefit
Aid to handicapped
Better Information retrieval
Personal finance benefits
Benefit of greater personal efficiency.
System Security problem
The privacy issue
The threat to access by the hackers
The threat to the system security, etc.
Application of Computer in the society
Realizing the above social impact, the people of the world are endeavoring to provide computer education to their children from an early age. Most of the developed countries have made Computer Education compulsory from grade one to Ph.D. level. They had prepared the curriculums to use it according to the level and requirements. Most of the countries are investing lots of money on the computer education for better quality of life and speedy development. Due to the development of computer technology, India, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia have upgraded the living standards of their people within the last two decades. But Nepal could not develop much compared to what they had done. In fact, Nepal had also started using this technology since 1970 AD but, because we did not care about the quality Computer Education in the right time. We have not yet been able to frame proper national policy of IT (Information Technology) development and human resource development on IT. Anyway, in Nepal also people had started computer Education from class 3 to the Ph. D. level at present. They are using computers in different sectors. There are good impacts of this technology. At present, people in Nepal are using this technology in the following fields for the personal and social benefits.
Result Processing in Schools, 10+2, Colleges and Universities.
School Information System Processing in Ministry of Education.
Students & Teacher's Record Keeping.
As a teaching tool for Science, Health, Geography, etc.
As a learning tool in the practical class of Schools, Colleges and Universities.
Account keeping, Payroll System and others.
Statistical record keeping, etc.
Health and Sector:
Patient Record Keeping
Medical Store Inventory Control
Research and Development.
(i) Bank Account Keeping
(ii) Electronic Money Transfer
(iii) General ledger
(iv) Note conciliation
(v) Monthly/Yearly Income & Expenditure Record Keeping
(i) International News Collection, Dissemination & Control
(ii) National News Collection, Dissemination & control
(iii) Dissemination of news, in terms of text, voice and views
(iv) Research and Development
(v) Store Inventory Control System
(vi) Record Keeping System, etc.
There are other sector also where the application of computer is very important these are E-Governance, Office, Intelligence Machine, Weather Forecasting, Decision Making, Distance Education, Film recording, Traffic Control, Playing games, Publication etc.
History And Development Of Computers
A computer is an invention of human beings to enhance their capabilities to accomplish tasks. Modern computers are developed after a gradual change over a long period of time. In another word, it was not developed in one day. Hence it has its own history.
Tribal life in ancient time required man to remember a lot of information, so an early man felt the need to count the things. Then he started counting using his own fingers. However, the limited number of fingers had made it difficult for him to remember more facts. Thus, he started different methods to count using stones, sticks, scratches on a rock or wall or knots in a string. As a result, during fifth century Hindu philosophers were able to develop a new method of counting using the numbers (digits) 0 to 9. Since there are ten digits, the Arabic Number System method was called Decimal Number System of counting. Hence, the history of computer implies the gradual change in the concept over a long period of time. In the following section, we will explain the history of computing machines from their early forms to the most modern high-speed electronic computers.
(a) BC 5000 to 2000 Abacus
In early days, people used pebbles or beads on a counting board to carry out simple calculations. This tool is called the Abacus. Its exact origin is unknown. It may have originated in China, Egypt and Greece during 5000 B.C. to 2000 B.C. An abacus can be used to add, subtract, multiply and divide. Even today the abacus is used in many parts of the world (e.g. China).
(b) A.D. 1614: Napier’s Bone
In 1614 John Napier, a Scottish Mathematician, first published the first table of logarithms. It was very helpful in simplifying multiplication of large numbers. In 1614, Napier also developed a numbered rod in order to multiply, divide and extract roots, known as Napier’s bone. It was called so because it was made up of strips of bones on which numbers were painted. By the combination of these bones, direct multiplication could be done.
(c) A.D. 1620: Slide Rule
In 1620, Slide Rule was developed by William Oughtred, UK which is an analog device. It used the principle of logarithms. It has two graduated scales. One scale slides or slips upon the other. With the proper alignment of the two scales, it is easy to find the product, quotient or any other function simply by viewing on the scales.
(d) A.D. 1642: Pascal’s adding machine
The first real calculating machine that could add and subtract was a mechanical calculator called Pascal’s Adding Machine or Pascaline, invented by a French scientist Blaise Pascal in 1642. Pascal’s Adding machine consisted of ten toothed wheels. The addition or subtraction was performed by turning these wheels.
(e) A.D. 1694: Leibnitz’s Calculator
The first calculator that could perform automatic addition, subtraction as well as multiplication and division was developed by a German philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Von Leibniz. In 1671, Leibnitz modified his calculator. It was also known as. Stepped Recknor.
At the beginning of the nineteenth century (i.e. A. D. 1801), Joseph Marie Jacquard of France invented a punched card as an accessory to the loom. The punched card could automate the loom for the weaving of intricate patterns. Thus, he could control the weaving loom through the set of holes in a card, which could store the instruction for the loom.
(g) A.D. 1822 and 1833: Babbage’s Differential Engine
In 1822, another interesting development took place in the history of computers. Charles Babbage, an English Mathematician, invented a calculating device called Differential Engine . Babbage wanted to calculate Polynomial functions using the method of differences.
Babbage, also wanted to design a bigger machine, called an Analytical Engine. The idea of an Analytical Engine developed in 1833 AD was considered as a most significant step in the history of computers, because of his idea only, the dream of modern computer has come true. That is why he is famous as “Father of Computer”.
Babbage intended to have his machine to have a mechanism to input data and output the results. He wanted to input data with the help of punched cards and the output to be printed on copper plates. Babbage’s analytical engine and modern day computers are similar in their structure. This engine had four major units.
1. Store: A memory or store which could store data and intermediate results.
2. Mill: An arithmetic unit which was called a ‘Mill’. It could perform calculations.
3. His machine had mechanism having gears and shafts by which data and results were transferred between the store and the mill which is similar to the control unit of today’s computer.
4. Input and Output devices
(h) A.D. 1848 Lady Ada Agusta
In 1848 AD, a British mathematician Lady Agusta wrote a first program to run an analytical engine made by Prof. Charles Babbage. Hence she is called a first programmer.
(i) A.D. 1850 George Boole
George Boole, a British mathematician, introduced mathematics of logic known as Boolean algebra. It laid the foundation of digital computers. Boolean considered two-valued binary notation (i.e. 0 and 1) to represent any form of data.
(j) A.D. 1890: Dr. Herman Hollerith
The first card machine which was electrically activated was used by Dr. Herman Hollerith to compute the statistics of the 1890 AD United States population census. Hollerith was an American mechanical engineer and statistician, working for the Census Bureau. He used the punched cards to store data, with the holes representing data values. He developed an electromechanical tabulating machine for punched cards. Because of his sincere efforts, the population census of 1890 could be processed in one-third of the time allotted.
In the early part of the twentieth century, tabulating machines were growing rapidly. In 1937, next important event occurred in history. The first electromechanical computer with the development of MARK I was invented by Howard Aiken and other was constructed MARK I at Harvard University under the sponsorship of IBM (International Business Machine).The MARK I also known as the Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator. It was 50ft. long and 8 ft. high. It used electronic tubes and electrical relays. MARK I took 4½ seconds to multiply two 23-digit numbers. It was able to produce ballistics tables that were used in connection with Second World War. The input device used was the punched paper tape.
(l) A.D. 1939: Electronic Computers (ABC computer).
The age of electronic computer began when vacuum tubes were introduced. Such tubes were thousands of times faster than the earlier electromechanical devices. The first electronic digital computer was developed in 1939 AD by John V. Atanasoft and his student Clifford Berry It was called Atanasoft-Berry Computer (ABC computer).
(m) A.D 1940: ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer)
In the true sense, the first electronic computer was developed by John W. Mauchly and John Presper Eckert. It was developed at the university of Pennsylvania and called ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer), based Decimal Number System.
ENIAC used high-speed vacuum tubes (switching devices). The high speed operation of the computer in the world was first experienced with ENIAC. It could add two numbers in 200 microseconds and multiply two numbers in 2800 microseconds. Number of vacuum tubes used was 19,000. It occupied an area of 150 square meters and was 1,000 times faster than Mark-1.
(n) A.D. 1949: EDSAC (Electronic Delay Storage Automated Computer)
In 1945, a noticeable improvement in the development of the computer took place when John Von Neumann, the Hungarian mathematician genius developed the idea of Stored Program Concept, which was a very important technique to design today's Computer. According Neumann, it would use Binary Number system instead of Decimal Number System used in ENIAC. Then Prof. Maurie Wilkes used the I.V Neumann’s stored program concept to design the computer called EDSAC (Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Computer). EDSAC was called the first stored program electronic computer developed completely in 1949.
(o) A.D. 1951: UNIVAC (Universal Automatic Computer)
After developing ENIAC, Mauchly and Eckert formed their own company in 1946. This company built a new computer called UNIVAC-I (Universal Automatic Computer-I) in 1951. UNIVAC was delivered to the Census Bureau. Business organizations too started using UNIVAC. Hence, it was called the first commercially used electronic computer in the world.
The first Microprocessor was built at Intel Co-operation, USA in 1970. It was used to build minicomputer and micro computer at the beginning.
(q) A.D 1972: Minicomputer
The first minicomputer was developed by Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) in 1972 A.D. Within 1977 AD different computers started developing varieties of Minicomputers.
(r) A.D. 1974: Microcomputer
The first microcomputer called ALT AIR 8800 was manufactured in 1974. It used an 8-bit Intel microprocessor. The Apple personal computer and IBM pc was first introduced in 1976 and 1981 AD respectively.
(s) A.D. 1994: Pentium Series
IBM Company launched PCXT (Extended Technology) and PCAT (Advanced Technology) microcomputers were developed first time in 1983 and 1984 AD respectively. Then in 1994 AD Pentium series of Microprocessor Chips were launched.
In the same year, US vice President Mr. Algor announced about “Internet for all”. Then most of the developed and developing countries tried to use Information Technology (IT), where people could use Internet, Intranet, extranet and email. With the help of this technology they also started using Website, Digital Library, E-commerce, E-shopping, E-Banking and Telemedicine, etc.
(t) AD 1995: Multimedia Technology (MMX)
Pentium I with Multimedia Technology (MMX) computer was built and released. In the same year, Windows 95 and Graphical User Interface (GUI) were launched by Microsoft.
(u) A.D.1996: Linux Operating system
This year different individual software developers developed Linux Operating System.
(v) A.D. 1997: MS-Office 97
Microsoft Company Launched MS-Office 97 (Office Application) for Windows 95. Similarly in the same year private individuals also designed and sold a special type of Operating System named LINUX in the world market.