Computer, devices capable of storing and processing data as per instructions from a user or program, are prominent features of the modern day world. A computer consists of hardware and software components, the former being the physical structure, components, and electronics and the latter being the programs and data that come bundled with it. While computers have been around since the 1940s, modern computers have become smaller and more powerful over the years, allowing the completion of a variety of tasks from arithmetic to complex analytics.
At the heart of computers are circuits and chips, which are transistors configured to provide easy processing of data. A variety of technological advancements such as integrated circuits (ICs) have allowed the size of computers to shrink significantly, while processing power has increased drastically. In order to perform computation, the computer needs to process data. This is done using various types of programmable circuits, from the simplest switching circuits to the most complex digital computers.
The input, the output, and the storage of data are all carried out using an integrated combination of hardware and software components. While the input, usually from a keyboard or mouse, is the means of entering data into the computer, the output is the result of the processing of the data, either digitally or graphically depending on the purpose of the output. For storing the data, both random access memory and hard drives are used. Hard drives are used for long term storage and RAM is used for quick storage and access.
The capabilities of computers have drastically increased over the years and this is due largely to the advancements in software technology. Operating systems, such as Windows, OS X, and Linux, allow for an easy interface between the user and the hardware components and for a streamlined control over the management of programs and data.
In addition to the hardware and software components, computers also use network connectivity to transfer information and data between machines and programs. Network connections allow for an efficient communication between computers and the sharing of resources.
Modern computers come in a variety of shapes and sizes, ranging from desktop computers to laptop and tablet PCs. Smaller computers such as smartphones are also very popular and are capable of performing a range of computing tasks. Computers are becoming increasingly ubiquitous in our lives due to their widespread use in a variety of fields, from business to entertainment.