What is Computer – Definition and Basic Concept of a Computer

Definition and Basic Concept of Computer

Introduction to a Computer

In general speaking the computer is simply a calculating device. The name Computer is derived from a Latin word computare which mean “to compute”. As we know the Computer is a special type of programing machine having some basic characteristics like –

  • Fast and reliable calculations
  • Receive, process and store information
  • A multitasking machine which can perform quickly, more accurately

What is Computer?

Some of the definitions of computer are as below –

Computer is an electronic machine which can store and process information. It is also defined as a stored program digital computing system.

Computer is an electronic device which can take instructions and can transmit data, store and manipulate information.

The Computer is a machine which accepts data may be numbers, letters or both or even sounds, then processes that data and gives output.

Computer System
Computer accepts information using an input device. Central processing unit process the information given as input or taken from a storage unit i.e. Hard Disk. Output device shows the results of this process. Computer can control the process as per the given input instructions and this system is called a computing system.

Functions of a Computer Input, Storage, Process and Output Unit

4 basic functions of computer helps to understand computer basic concept


Computer takes information from users as input using input devices like mouse, keyboard, or some other input devices like punch card, magnetic tapes, webcam,  joystick or magnetic disk etc. The Input devices takes this data and send it to CPU ( Central Processing Unit ).


The input given by user can be stored in a computer using different storage devices. Different storages devices are secondary or external storage like Hard Disk, Compact Disk and Flash Drive. Storage devices have both advantages and disadvantages. External storage helps to speed up information processing and can store it permanently for a very long time.


Processing is considered the basic computing operation. It execute the input instructions, control all storage data and input or output devices which are attached to the computer.


Finally the output unit shows the results from the operations of central processing unit CPU to the user. This output result can be both in hard or soft form i.e. visual display unit, headphones and printers.

Classification of Computers

Analog Computers:

Analog computer accepts analog input and gives analog output. Analog computer is used to represents physical quantities like temperature, acceleration, voltages or distance in electrical or mechanical circuits it may not require any storage device.

Examples of analog computer are speedometer, weight measuring machine and an analog clock.

Digital Computer:

It takes digital input and provide digital output results after processing information. All the operation are in binary system of 0 and 1. It perform all task using binary system of 0 and 1 only.

Examples of digital computers are IBM PC, Apple Macintosh etc.

Hybrid Computer:

In terms of speed and accuracy hybrid computer is a combination of both analog and digital computers. It can measure physical as well as digital quantities.

Machine measuring heartbeat in hospital and devices installed on fuel pumps are some of the examples of an hybrid computer.

types of computers- analog computer, digital computer and hybrid computers

Types of computers- analog computer, digital computer and hybrid computers

Difference between Analog, Digital and Hybrid computers

Analog Computer
Digital Computer
Hybrid Computer
Gives output in analog forms Gives output in digital forms Output may be both in analog or digital forms as per requirements
Analog computer need continuous signal It works on a discrete signal It is a combination of analog and digital Computers
It is generally slow in speed It is very fast in giving output Speed of output depends upon the given task, but it is faster then analog computers
Complex in use Easy to use Need complete knowledge of the process before using it
It measures analog quantities It does complex digital calculations It can process both digital and analog data
Mainly used in field of science Can be used any where in any task Mainly used for a specific requirements
Examples: Weighing machine, analog watch etc. Modern Computers, digital watches etc. Thermometers, Auto Gasoline pump installed in petrol pumps etc.

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