Introduction to computer programming using visual basic .NET chapter 1
Introduction to computers
Author: Eze-Odikwa Tochukwu Jed
Note: All articles posted here are accurate, up-to-date and drafted from real university curriculums. Proper references will be added at the bottom of this article upon its completion.
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A computer accepts and then processes input data according to the instructions given to it. Computer operations are performed according to programmed logical and arithmetical rules. The arithmetical element might be as simple as X+Y = Z.
A computer is a mixture of physical components such as keyboards, mouse, and monitors, internal circuits and physical component referred to as “hardware” and non-physical components referred to as “software”. Using electrical impulses, the two are connected and communicate with each other just as a human being can be seen as a combination of body and mind, so can a computer. Computer is a two part system consisting of a body that is the hardware and a mind that is the software. A computer therefore, is a collection of electronic parts (body) with a set of instructions controlling it (mind).
1.1 Computer Hardware
Computer hardware includes all the electrical, mechanical and the electronic parts of a computer. Any part that we can see and touch is the hardware.
Computer hardware includes:
- System unit
- Peripheral devices
- Input devices i.e. keyboard, mouse etc.
- Output devices i.e. display unit, printer etc.
- Storage devices like hard disk, floppy disks etc.
1.2 Computer Software
The functioning of the computer is not dependent on hardware alone; it requires a set of instructions that tells the computer what is to be done with the input data. In computer terminology, this set of instructions is called a program, and one or more programs are termed as software. Software used for computers may be of different types. Some of which are:
- application software
- system software
1.2.1 Application Software
Software developed to perform specific tasks, for example, railway and airline reservation, billing, accounting or software which enables creation and storage of documents are termed as application software.
1.3 System Software
In the above airline reservation example, the clerk types your name and other details through the keyboard. But how does this go to the system unit? This activity is done by a set of instructions called the Operating Systems and systems services which is generally supplied by the manufacturer.
The operating system manages the various I/O devices of the computer and enables the user to interact with the machine.