Characteristics of a Computer:

Let us identify the major characteristics of a computer. These can be discussed under the heading of Speed, Accuracy, Diligence, Versatility and Memory.

Speed: As you know a computer can work very fast. It takes only few seconds for calculations that we take hours to complete. You will be surprised to know that a computer can perform millions of instructions and even more per second. Therefore, we determine the speed of computer in terms of microsecond (10-6 part of a second) or nano-second (10-9 part of a second). From this you can imagine how fast your computer performs work.

Accuracy: Suppose some one calculates faster but commits a lot of errors in computing. Such result is useless. There is another aspect. Suppose you want to divide 15 by 7. you may work out up to 2 decimal places and say the dividend is 2.14. I may calculate up to 4 decimal places and say that the result is 2.1428. Some one else may go up to 9 decimal places and say the result is 2.142857143. Hence, in addition to speed, the computer should have accuracy or correctness in computing. The degree of accuracy of computer is very high and every calculation is performed with the same accuracy. The accuracy level is determined on the basis of design of computer. The errors in computer are due to human and inaccurate data.

Diligence: A computer is free from tiredness, lack of concentration, fatigue, etc. It can work for hours without creating any error. If millions of calculations are to be performed, a computer will perform every calculation with the same accuracy. Due to this capability it overpowers human being in routine type of work.

Versatility: It means the capacity to perform completely different types of work. You may use your computer to prepare payroll slips, next moment you may use if for inventory management or to prepare electric bills.

Power of Remembering: A Computer has the power of storing any amount of information or data. Any information can be stored and recalled as long as you require it, for any numbers of years. It depends entirely upon you how much data you want to store in a computer and when to retrieve these data.

Storage: The computer has an in-built memory where it can store a large amount of data. You can also store data in secondary storage devices such as floppies, which can be kept outside your computer and can be carried to other computers.

By Emmanuel Effiong

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