Definition

computer

A computer is a device that accepts information (in the form of digitalized data) and manipulates it for some result based on a program or sequence of instructions on how the data is to be processed. Complex computers also include the means for storing data (including the program, which is also a form of data) for some necessary duration. A program may be invariable and built into the computer (and called logic circuitry as it is on microprocessors) or different programs may be provided to the computer (loaded into its storage and then started by an administrator or user). Today's computers have both kinds of programming.

Most histories of the modern computer begin with the Analytical Engine envisioned by Charles Babbage following the mathematical ideas of George Boole, the mathematician who first stated the principles of logic inherent in today's digital computer. Babbage's assistant and collaborator, Ada Lovelace, is said to have introduced the ideas of program loops and subroutines and is sometimes considered the first programmer. Apart from mechanical calculators, the first really useable computers began with the vacuum tube, accelerated with the invention of the transistor, which then became embedded in large numbers in integrated circuits, ultimately making possible the relatively low-cost personal computer.

Modern computers inherently follow the ideas of the stored program laid out by John von Neumann in 1945. Essentially, the program is read by the computer one instruction at a time, an operation is performed, and the computer then reads in the next instruction, and so on. Recently, computers and programs have been devised that allow multiple programs (and computers) to work on the same problem at the same time in parallel. With the advent of the Internet and higher bandwidth data transmission, programs and data that are part of the same overall project can be distributed over a network and embody the Sun Microsystems slogan: "The network is the computer."

Also see analog computing.

This was last updated in September 2005

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computer is simply
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computer is nomal
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A computer, at least MY computer, has long since stopped being a "device" and developed into an extension of my brain. It's how I organize my thoughts, gather information, process it and ultimately communicate with the world.

Computers are already faster than I, they have better storage and they're re right on the verge of becoming lots smarter, too. Much, much smarter. And now that we're about to unleash the IoT (Internet of Things) we can expect an explosion of content and resources at our fingertips. At our computer's chip-tips.

I hate to anthropomorphize, but, hell, I do anyway. This tin box of circuits and chips has developed over the years into something beyond "device". Let's face it, my assistant "accepts information (in any form I provide) and manipulates it for some result based on a sequence of instructions." But I'd be loath to call him a device.

He has a name, he's an entity. I trust and respect him. I value his knowhow and input. I believe in his work and rely on it everyday. Just like my computer.

Despite all that, neither one will make a decent cup of coffee for me....
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Computer Is an electronic device that accept data and instructions as input, process the data according to the given instruction and produce information as output.
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OK. But shouldn't we update the information it receives to be even analog data now that we're using devices that can interact with the world around them either through visuals or audio?
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People can define things based on their composition, function, application, analogy..
We can, for example, say that a house is a structure built according to design patterns and consisting of building materials such as bricks or timber. Or we can say that house is a structure where people live.

Being a software tester, I think of computer systems as a medium allowing people to communicate and collaborate with each other through distance and time.
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A computer is an electronic device used to process data, in small to extremely large amounts, in a structured way via a set of command in a program to produce a desired results. This can be another set of data or a report.  It can be done much faster that trying to accomplish the same task manually. Computers have changed vastly over the last 50 years. What used to fill a room you can now wear on your wrist.

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Yes, computers are great multitasking tools. I have played music files while writing code and developing 3D models for game use at the same time. I have also done the same while video chatting. Throw in a download or two and that just is further multitasking.
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