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What is Computer

Updated Mar 05, 2024

A computer is an electronic device that can accept some inputs in the form of data, processing this data, and providing the Output in the desired format.

What is Computer

Computers are used everywhere in our daily lives such as sending emails, online shopping, ATMs, playing games, preparing documents, posting comments on social media, watching videos on YouTube, etc.

Apart from desktops and laptops, you can find computers on TVs, remote controllers, ACs, refrigerators, cars, smartphones, and tablets.

What does the Computer stand for? (What is Computer's full form?)

The full form of a Computer is a Common Operating Machine Purposely Used for Technological and Educational Research.
“Computer” is derived from the word “compute” which means to calculate.

COMPUTER = Arithmetical Logical Unit (ALU) + Control Unit (CU)

Computer Full Form

History of computers:

Charles Babbage who was the inventor of the first mechanical computing is also known as the father of computer. In 1842 Charles Babbage introduced general purpose computer which add, subtract divide and multiply in automatic sequence. Its average speed is 60 addition per second.

Father of Computer: Charles Babbage

The idea of Babbage was further refined and improved by Ada Augusta Love Lace. Due to her valuable contribution, she is considered as first programmer.

First Computer Programmer: Ada Augusta

Features of Computer:

  • High speed
  • Large memory
  • Reliability and Accuracy
  • Versatility
  • Diligence
  • Automation
  • Logical decision making

Different types of Computer

Based on technology, computers are divided into 3 broad categories:

1) Digital Computer

These are the computers you come across every day. The IBM PC and Apple Macintosh were the first digital computers to be used. These systems can perform various computational tasks based on the instructions given.

Typically, digital computers use the binary system, which has 2 digits – 0 and 1. These digits are called bits and they are used for representing information.

Digital Computers

2) Analog Computer

An analog computer handles and processes analog data. These systems store data in physical quantities and execute calculations using measures. The results of these calculations are represented using symbolic numbers.

Analog Computer

3) Hybrid Computer

These systems can be considered a combination of both digital and analog computers. The digital part handles logical and numerical operations. On the other hand, the analog component tackles complex mathematical operations.

Hybrid Computer

Generation of Computers

First Generation (1940 - 1956)

The period between 1940 and 1956 was considered the first generation of computers. The computers were developed using vacuum tubes. They worked on binary code and accepted input using punched cards.

Examples: Mark I and Electronic Numerical Integrator And Calculator (ENIAC)

Second Generation (1956 - 1963)

The period between 1956 and 1963 is the second generation of computers. The transistor technology was used for creating computers back then. Moreover, these systems took less time to perform calculations than the 1st generation computers.
Examples: IBM 1620 and CDC 3600

Third Generation (1963 - 1971)

1963 to 1971 was the 3rd generation of computers. The computers of this generation were developed using integrated circuits. These systems consumed less power, heat and were easy to maintain.
Examples: IBM-360 and VAX-750

Fourth Generation (1972 - 2010)

The period between 1972 and 2010 is considered the 4th generation of computers. Microprocessors were used for developing these computers. The systems were faster than the other generations. It was this generation when computers were made commonly available for people.
Examples: IBM-PC and Apple-Macintosh

Fifth Generation (2010-Present)

The fifth generation of computers started in 2010 and is continuing. Computers today are faster than ever and can process multiple instructions at a time. Some of the technologies in this generation include artificial intelligence, data science, cloud computing, parallel processing, cybersecurity, and nanotechnology.

Important Components of a Computer


The various physical components of a computer are called hardware. These include keyboard, mouse, monitor, CPU, servers, etc. These components are used for providing inputs to a computer. Based on these inputs or instructions, the system will execute operations.


This is the main circuit board that connects the CPU, RAM, video card, and hard drive. It has ports for other external devices to connect. It is placed inside the CPU casket and has ports for optical drives, memory, and power supply. A peripheral (external) slot is available for inserting video and sound cards.

Computer Motherboard


The Central Processing unit is the brain of a computer. This processes all the data fed into it and delivers the appropriate results. These results may be displayed on the monitor or stored in an application. It contains a processor that is a chip that performs all calculations.

A CPU may have 2 processors (dual-core) or 4 processors (quad-core). Popular CPU processors include Intel Core i7 and AMD Ryzen.



Random Access Memory (RAM) is used for storing information such as machine code and working data. It is like the short-term memory of a computer, where the information gets erased when you shut down the computer. As data is accessed randomly instead of sequentially, RAM is very fast.

Computer RAM

Hard Drive

This is the part of a computer that stores and retrieves data and is non-volatile. It is attached to the disk controller of a computer’s motherboard. The hard drive is essential for installing programs or software on the system. The operating system is installed on the hard drive along with other applications.

Computer Hard Drive

Solid State Drive (SSD)

Solid State Drive (SSD)


Software is the various applications that are intended for executing specific tasks. This application is a set of instructions that process the input and produce an output. Popular software includes word processors, security applications, image editors, web browsers, database programs, software development tools, and cloud storage services.


You can install any software of your choice, as long as it supports your system’s hardware. Even PC games are high-end software used for entertainment purposes.

The most important software on a computer is the Operating System. This acts as a bridge between the user and the system’s hardware. The most important operating systems are the Windows 10 and Mac OS Operating Systems.

Some Important Computer abbreviations

Abbreviation Full-Form
COMPUTER Common Operating Machine Purposely Used for Technological and Educational Research
OS Operating System
ROM Read-Only Memory
CPU Central Processing Unit
URL Uniform Resource Locator
USB Universal Serial Bus
USB-C Universal Serial Bus Type-C
VIRUS Vital Information Resource Under Siege
TCP Transmission Control Protocol
UPS Uninterruptible Power Supply
SATA Serial Advanced Technology Attachment
RAM Random Access Memory
SMPS Switched-Mode Power Supply
CD Compact Disc
DVD Digital Versatile Disc
CRT Cathode Ray Tube
DEC Digital Equipment Corporation
SAP System Application and Products
PNG Portable Network Graphics
IP Internet Protocol
GIS Geographical Information system
DDS Digital Data Storage
CAD Computer-Aided Design
ACPI Advanced Configuration and Power Interface
AGP Accelerated Graphics Port
APM Advanced Power Management
APIPA Automatic Private Internet Protocol Addressing
HTTP HyperText Transfer Protocol
HTTPS HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure
HDMI High Definition Multimedia Interface

Common Memory Related full forms

Abbreviation Full-Form
KB Kilobyte (this is the smallest storage unit)
MB MegaByte
GB GigaByte
TB TeraByte
PB PentaByte
ZB ZetaByte


Computers have changed the way manual tasks are seen and perceived. Nowadays, you are likely to find an application to perform any task that you can think of. Computers have helped small companies speed up their development and manufacturing processes. This has helped them grow their businesses and turn into large corporates.

All this paved the way for many job opportunities. Thanks to computers, many people can earn a living even from the comfort of their home, by doing freelance jobs.