What is Computer? Functions & Characteristics

Computer Definition:-

The word 'computer' is derived from Latin word 'Computare', which means 'to calculate'. So Computer is an electronic device that takes raw data from the user process it under the set of control of instructions and gives the result (output) and we can save that result in computer memory for future use. Initially Computer was used only for Calculation but nowadays it is used to create documents, send emails. Computer is being used very fast in audio-video playing, game-playing, database management as well as in many other functions such as banks, educational institutions, offices, homes, shops.

Function of Computer:- 

  • Computer takes data as input.
  • Store data and instruction in its memory and use them when required.
  • Process on that data and convert into useful information.
  • Generates the output.

Characteristics (Advantage) of Computer:- 

Computer characteristics are define or tell the capability of computers. some characteristics of computer are listed below-

  • Automatic-  Computer is an automatic machine and it perform the given task automatically.
  • High Speed- Computer can work very fast. it perform millions of instruction and even more in per second.
  • Accuracy- Computer can do any calculations without errors and very accurately.
  • Diligence- Computer consistently perform n number of task or calculation with accuracy and higher speed.
  • Versatility- Computer has the ability to perform different type of work with the same accuracy and efficiency at the same time.
  • Reliability- The result produce by the computer is very reliable but it is depend on data input by user.
  • Storage Capacity- Computer can store huge amount of data. it has different type of memory to store data.
Limitation of Computer:-
  • No learning power
  • No decision making
  • No self intelligence
  • Interaction is needed

Application of Computer:-

Application of computer refers to the scope and use of computer in various fields and sector. these are-
  • Business
  • Education
  • Banking
  • Marketing
  • Medical
  • Defense
  • Entertainment
  • Railway
  • Agriculture
  • Scientific research

Type of Computer:- 

On the basis of working principle computer is of three types

Analog Computer:-

The computer which uses the analog signal to represent the data are known analog computer. This kind of computer works on continuous data value. 
EX- Speedometers 

Digital Computer:-

The computer which uses digital signal to represent the data is known as digital computer.
Ex- PC, Laptop, PDA, etc.
On the basis of size and performance digital computer is further classified into four category-

  • Super Computer
  • Mainframe Computer
  • Mini Computer
  • Micro Computer

Hybrid Computer (Analog + Digital):-

A combination of computers those are capable of inputting and outputting in both digital and analog signals. This is used there where it needs to calculate both the digital and analog data. ECG and DIALYSIS are most commonly used hybrid computer 

Computer Terminology:-


Unprocessed raw facts and figures, like number. Text on pieces paper, are known as data.


It is the sequence of actions taken on data to convert it into information.


When data is processed, organized, structured or presented in a given context so as to be useful, then it is called information.


It is a command given to a computer in the computer language by the user.


It is a set of instructions given to a computer in order to perform some task


This is a process of entering data and program into the computer system.


The process of saving data and instruction permanently is known as storage.


This is the process of producing result from the data or the instructions provided by the input device. The output is of two types’ soft copy and hard copy.

Soft Copy:-

These are the output which are being provided or displayed on screen for e.g. monitor or projector.

Hard Copy:-

These are the output which is being provided on through the printer as an output. 

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