Simply put, it is a machine, rather a programmable machine, which takes some instructions, performs computations based on the instructions given and produces the result or output. The computations performed are operations like arithmetic and logical. It takes the input, performs operation and gives output in human readable format. It is one of the most powerful and exiting innovations of human being.

Generally, basic computers have components as follows:

  • CPU - It executes instructions
  • Input device - Something which is used to give instructions to computer like mouse, keyboard joy stick etc.
  • Output device - Something which is used to view the output produced by computer after Computing the instructions like monitor, printer, screen etc.
  • Memory - Lets the computer store temporary data or programs, faster and easy access of data
  • Mass storage device - Lets to store large amount of data permanently, devices like hard disk, tape drives, RAID server etc.


Computers can be classified widely into three types:

  • Analog: There are standards, cryptographic software and hardware available to perform encryption broadly, but effectively using it to ensure security might be the biggest challenging problem.
  • Hybrid: It is a combination of analog and digital. Widely used for analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog conversions.
  • Digital: Digital is divided further into four types:
    • Super Computers: These are the most expensive computers. They have high processing capacity. They process billions of instructions in a second. They are used in high end applications such as nuclear energy research, fluid dynamic calculations, electronic design, climate research, oil and gas exploration, molecular modeling, in the field of medicine etc.
    • Mainframe Computers: Even these are quite expensive. These can process hundreds of millions of instructions in a second. They are used in applications like Banking, Railways, Airlines, manufacturing units etc.
    • Mini Computers: These are less expensive and have lower processing and storage capacity when compared to Mainframe Computers. Some features are not present in these computers when compared to Mainframe computers. Therefore, the performance will also be less.
    • Micro Computers: Micro Computers are further classified as:
      • Desktop Computers : These are also known as Personal Computers. These are easily affordable and easy to use. These computers are most popular and are intended to use for small applications and individual users.
      • Laptop Computers: These are portable and lightweight computers. They can also work on batteries and can be carried along anywhere, hence the name. They are small in size, hence sometimes called as notebook computers.
      • Handheld Computers (PDA’s), smart phones and pads : These are battery powered and also known as Personal Digital Assistants. These are small in size, hence can be carried anywhere. They have touch screens and are used through stylus or finger. Used for small applications like playing games, storing addresses etc.

        Smart phones have more computing capability when compared to normal phones. They have additional features like portable media players, cameras, GPS, touch screen, Wi-Fi etc. They run on an operating system unlike normal phones.

        Pads are the evolution of smart phones. These days, pads like ipad from Apple, Galaxy tabs from Samsung and other companies are very popular. They are used extensively for storing data, playing games, browsing, using various applications etc. They have the same features and much more, than what smart phones have. Size is usually bigger than smart phones.

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