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5. Characteristics - Features of a Computer.

posted Oct 30, 2014, 11:07 AM by Maurice Nyamoti   [ updated Oct 30, 2014, 11:52 PM ]

Characteristics / Features of a Computer.

 Before 20th century, most information was processed manually or by use of simple machines.  Today, millions of people are using computers in offices and at home to produce and store all types of information

 The following are some of the attributes that make computers widely accepted & used in the day-to-day activities in our society:

 1.      Speed.

  •  Computers operate at very high speeds, and can perform very many functions within a very short time.

  2.      Accuracy:

  •  Unlike human beings, computers are very accurate, i.e., they never make mistakes. 
  • A computer can work for very long periods without going wrong.  However, when an error occurs the computer has a number of in-built, self-checking features in their electronic components that can detect & correct such errors. 
  •   Usually errors are committed by the users entering the data to the computer, thus the saying Garbage in Garbage Out (GIGO).
  • This means that, if you enter incorrect data into the computer and have it processed, the computer will give you misleading information.

 3.      Reliability.

  • The computer can be relied upon to produce the correct answer if it is given the correct instructions & supplied with the correct data.
  •  Therefore, if you want to add two numbers, but by mistake, give the computer a “Multiply” instruction, the computer will not know that you intended to “ADD”; it will multiply the numbers supplied.

4.      Consistency:

  •  Computers are usually consistent.  This means that, given the same data & the same instructions, they will produce the same answer every time that particular process is repeated.

5.      Storage:

  •  A computer is capable of storing large amounts of data or instructions in a very small space.
  • A computer can store data & instructions for later use, and it can produce/ retrieve this data when required so that the user can make use of it. 
  • Data stored in a computer can be protected from unauthorized individuals through the use of passwords.

6.      Diligence:

  • Unlike human beings, a computer can work continuously without getting tired or bored.  Even if it has to do a million calculations, it will do the last one with the same speed and accuracy as the first one.

7.      Automation:

  • A computer is an automatic device.  This is because, once given the instructions, it is guided by these instructions and can carry on its job automatically until it is complete.
  • It can also perform a variety of jobs as long as there is a well-defined procedure.

8.      Versatile:

  • A computer can be used in different places to perform a large number of different jobs depending on the instructions fed to it.

9.      Imposition of a formal approach to working methods:

  • Because a computer can only work with a strict set of instructions, it identifies and imposes rigid rules for dealing with the data it is given to process.

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