Introduction to Computers
Written Assignment 1
1. What is the most important difference between a computer and a calculator
A calculator can only process numerical data, which means, it can only work with numbers, but a computer can process alphanumerical data, such as numbers, letters, graphics, pictures, video, audio files and much more. A calculator can only be programmed to calculate numbers. A computer can use thousands different programs.
2. How are computers today similar to those from World War II? How are they different?
Similar: Computers today and those from World War II both had to be programmed. They both receive input and process information, produce output and store data.
Different: The computer from WW II were huge, bulky, and very expensive. There were only few computers at that time. ABC ( Atanasoff-Berry Computer) was created in 1939, and it was capable of solving systems of linear equations. Another computer, Mark I was created in 1944. It was 51-foot-long, 8-foot-tall monster, that was very noisy and slow, but computed ballistic tables for the US Navy. Those computers didn’t have monitors, mouse, and other input devices that we know now. They didn’t have memory, storage devices, and microprocessor. Instead of microprocessors they used vacuum tubes to store and manipulate data. Modern computers are a lot smaller, cheaper, and faster. They can use hundreds and thousands of different programs for lots of different purposes.
3. The way people use the Internet has changed since the early days. How?
In the beginning, the Internet was used only by the US government for connecting computers. Later, in 80s, it was used by researches academics and government officials for transferring data and exchange electronic mail (email).
When later, in 1990s, the WWW ( World Wide Web) was invented, people were able to transfer not only a plain text, but also pictures, sounds, videos, and other files. Since then, millions of people were able to connect to the Internet through browsers, to communicate, to search for and to share information.
4. What types of computers typically employ timesharing?
Timesharing is used by mainframe computers and terminals. Via timesharing, several computers-terminals can use the same mainframe computer to gather needed information at the same time. This function is widely used by travel agents at the airports, or by many research scientists and engineers, etc.
5. Draw a block diagram showing the major components of a computer and their relationships. Briefly describe the function of each component.
6. Why is the international computer industry shifting from ASCII to Unicode for representing text?
ASCII ( American Standard Code) is designed for American English Alphabet. Unicode is used to support multilingual computing, to accommodate Chinese, Greek, Hebrew, Japanese, Arabic, Russian, and other languages.
7. Why is information stored in some kind of binary format in computers?
A computer can only understand information if it has been broken into bits. A bit is a smallest unit of information a computer can process. A bit can have one of two values: 0 or 1, which is called a binary format.
8. List five input devices and three output devices that might be attached to a PC. Describe a typical use for each. INPUT:
1. Keyboard – used to send signals to the computer.
2. Pointing devices – are designed to move pointer around the screen and point to specific characters or objects. Include mouse, game controllers, touch screen, touchpad, and more.
3. Multi-touch input devices – used to accomplish complex tasks quickly by using multi-finger, or multi-hand gestures. For example, the IPhone from Apple.
4. Reading Tools – designed to allow computers to read marks rapidly that represent codes. For example, Optical mark readers, magnetic...
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