Martin kimani muiru bqs 214 computing I b66/39552/2011 Why is the computer known as a data processor?

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BQS 214



  1. Why is the computer known as a data processor?

Computer is known as a data processor device since it accepts input raw data t, stores the data, does arithmetic and logic operation on it and outputs it as information in a desired format that is useful to the user.

  1. Explain in brief the various generations in computer technology.

Generations of computers has been divided into five according to the development of technologies used to fabricate the processors, memories and I/O units. The first generation computers were used between 1945 – 1955 and used vacuum tubes for basic arithmetic operations and magnetic drums for memory. They were huge, expensive and consumed a lot of power. The second generation of computers were used between 1955 – 1965 and used transistors in place of vacuum tubes. They were the first computers that stored their instructions in their memory using magnetic core technology; they were also faster, smaller in size and consumed less power compared to first generation computers. Third generation of computers were used between 1965 – 1975 and were the first to use integrated circuits with miniature transistors placed on the. Users interacted with the computers through keyboards and monitors and interfaced with an operating system. They were smaller, performed better and cost less than previous generations hence more people started acquiring them. Fourth generation computers were used around 1975 – 1989 with emergence of a lot of technologies such as microprocessors for the CPU, CRT screens, laser printers and floppy disks. Lastly there’s fifth generation computers that are in use up to date with their specifications changing day by day. They are small in size, cheaper and very fast processing speeds.

  1. Write a short note of the fifth generation of computers and what makes it different from the fourth generation computers.

Fifth generation computers have got superior processors which change and upgrade each and every time. These computers have got multiple processors and hence can process data that is very complex or even multitask processing of tasks. Millions of transistors can be contained on a single IC in what is called ULSI (Ultra Large Scale Integration) technology. Computing based on artificial intelligence is still in development though there are some applications such as voice recognition that are being used today. This generation came by with the introduction of the World Wide Web and also advanced programming languages such as JAVA. They also have large main memory and disk storage. They are cheap, small, and portable and consume a little power making it possible for more and more people to own personal computers.
The difference between fifth generation and forth generation is that fourth generation computers used VLSI technology whereby Tens of thousands of transistors can be placed in a single chip whereas fifth generation use ULSI.

  1. Why did the size of computers get reduced in the third generation of computers?

Third generation computers were much smaller than the previous generations because they made use of integrated circuits and semiconductors and moved from use of punch cards to input devices such as keyboards.

  1. Give short notes on :-

Versatility– versatility in computer means the computer is capable of performing almost any task provided the task can be reduced to a series of logical steps. This makes it possible for the computer to perform task simultaneously with ease

Storage – Computer storage is the place where data is held in an electromagnetic or optical form for access by the computer processor and it’s divided into primary and secondary storage. Primary memory is the main storage and data and programs used for execution are stored here and is accessed frequently. It’s in the form of RAM and RAM. Secondary memory or auxiliary memory holds data on hard disks, flash disks and other devices requiring input and output operations.

Slide rule- This is a mechanical analogue computer used primarily for multiplication and division and mathematical functions such as roots, logs and trigonometry. They come in a diverse range of styles and generally appear in a linear or circular form with a standardized set of scales necessary for performing mathematical computations. The slide rule is not normally used for addition or subtraction.

Babbage’s analytical engine- This was the first fully automatic calculating machine designed by a Briton Charles Babbage who is considered as the father of computing. The machine was designed to evaluate any mathematical formulae and calculate and print mathematical tables.

  1. Distinguish between a microcomputer and a mainframe computer.

Microcomputers use microprocessors as its central processing unit and their sizes vary from the size of a single chip to the size of a desktop. They are designed to be used by only one user at a time and examples of its uses include personal computers, TV sets and even cars.
Mainframe computers are able to process large amount of data at very high speed and support multiple users like up to 100. They are large and kept in large air conditioned rooms to keep them cool and cost a lot of money. It can be used in places that need a lot of processed data such as banks, hospitals and airports.

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