The science and technology has played a major role in modern life of man. From the days of communications with pigeons, the time has ripened where the Information floats. The Scientists and Technologists made many achievements in recent past. Among all these achievements computer has its own place. Computer can be defined as an electronic machine that can acquire, manipulate, reproduce and communicate, data at a very high speed, maintaining a high level of accuracy. Data are only a representation of facts using symbols. The data may be numerical, textual, pectoral or vocal. And data processing involves three basic activities-collecting, manipulating, and managing output. The first automatic electronic computer was made in Pennsylvania in 1946 and known as ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Calculator). Since then it has changed the pattern of doing work easily and quickly. It has also revolutionized the whole world.
The computers vary tremendously in size, from desk top models to huge machines occupying an entire room or even more, but they all contain the same components which come under the heading of hardware and software. Hardware is the term given to all the machines that make up a computer and the collection of machines is called a computer configuration. Software refers to the programmes that instruct the machine.
There are two basic types of computers—digital and analogue. Both types are highly complex systems of electrical circuits to carry out complicated calculations or to solve difficult problems. The hybrid is a third type which consists of a combination of the other two. The digital computer is basically a counting machine. A small digital computer is able to multiply, divide, subtract and add, all at high speed, which are electrically powered and operated by hand like typewriters. Larger digital computers receive data or information on punched-cards or magnetic tape. This data is read by the unit called the reader, which converts it into a form usable by computer. The analogue computers are specially designed to deal with particular problems such as guiding Moon rockets.
Today the computer permeats the whole world of work, in homes, in factories, in schools, in hospitals, in offices, in hotels etc. because it is an enormously flexible tool that can be used in wide variety of ways; depending on needs and available resources. At home, microprocessors on small chips control various home appliances and perform automatic fine tuning and colour regulating on television sets and other household gadgets. Computers help us formulate budgets, keep track of instruments, maintain a mailing list and do everything whatever we command it. In offices they do every kind of business, maintain records, files, prepare payrolls and what not. In hospitals, computers are on hand to diagnose diseases, help in doing painless surgeries. They have helped many a blind to see and deaf to heat The computers are effective in individualizing education, in simplifying the extensive record keeping. Therefore, familiarity with the computers is considered a strong vocational advantage and salable skill.
The computers are here to stay in the modern world and the more we understand them, the better will be the days ahead of us. For with their help and one’s skills, the present can be utilised to predict what is sure to come and be well prepared to meet the challenge