General Computer Question 2: How do we use computers? Answer: During the past few decades, computers and electronic technologies have been incorporated into almost every aspect of society. They now play a role in how we learn, how we take care of our money, and how we are entertained. Today, there is probably no better indication of how advanced a society is than how computerized it is. In our society, computers are now a fundamental component of our Jobs, our schools, our stores, our means of transportation, and our health care. [Pl] General Computer Question 3: How are computers used in Banking and Finance?

Answer: Computers have become an indispensable tool in the handling of money and finances. Computerized ATM machines and credit card machines are now familiar throughout the united States and In many other countries In the world. Although they have only been in existence for a short while, many of us now take them for granted and expect our bank to provide these computerized services whenever and wherever we need them. Many do not realize that these machines are part of the huge electronic network that has been put in place in the banking and financial services industries.

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The ATM machines and the credit card machines revive our Interface with the bank's computers. [Pl] General Computer Question 4: How are computers used in Education? Answer: Today, computers can be found in every school. From kindergarten to graduate school, the computer is being used for learning, for record keeping, and for used to facilitate the learning of nearly every educational topic. Multimedia-based learning systems can deliver information to students in the form of sound and video in addition to text and pictures.

Using these new tools, students can gain control over their own learning as the computer delivers the instruction at the student's desired ace, monitors their progress, and provides instantaneous feedback. [pick] General Computer Question 6: How are computers used in Business? Answer: Business was one of the first areas to incorporate the computer. Because of its powerful capability to store and retrieve vast amounts of information, computers are now a vital component of almost every type of business. They are used to record sales, maintain information about inventories, maintain payroll records, and generate paychecks.

Business workers now use computers to keep track of meetings, write letters and memos, create charts and presentation graphics, create newsletters, and examine trends.. General Computer Question 7: How are computers used in Entertainment and Recreation? Answer: Computers can be found throughout the entertainment industry. They are behind much of the glitz and excitement that we encounter every time we turn on the television, attend a professional basketball game, or risk our money in the slot machines of Lass Vegas.

In the motion picture industry, the time required to create animation has been greatly reduced through the use of computers and special graphics software. The movie industry also uses computers routinely for a variety of facial effects and specialized computer programs have even made it possible to "colonize" old black-and-white films. [pick] General Computer Question 8: How are computers used in the workplace? Answer: With the proliferation of computers throughout our society, there has been a resultant discussion about what their role should be.

Although almost everyone recognizes the presence of computers in today's workplaces, not everyone welcomes them. Some employees fear that they may be replaced by computers. And although it may be true that in some areas such as manufacturing where robots have taken over he Job of human workers, overall, the employment of computers has not resulted in a net loss of Jobs. What computers have often caused is a need for people to be retrained so that they can fill the Jobs that have been created by computers and new related technologies.

In some cases the retraining is minimal, as when typists learn to apply their typing skills to word processing but, in other cases, significant retraining is necessary. In some Jobs, for example, where assembly-line workers have been displaced by robots, employees have to be totally retrained. [pick] General Computer Question 1 5: What is backing up and why is it so important? Answer: Computer data can be lost or damaged due to theft or intentional "hacking" (breaking into a computer system). But data is most often lost due to reasons other than crime.

Natural disasters, or even common events like power outages, can also cause problems if protective measures are not taken. It is very important that computer users of all types keep backup copies of programs and data. Individual computer users can protect their data by frequently backing up files and storing the backup disks in another location. Large databases must also be backed up not only in case of system failure, but to protect data from such things as fire, earthquakes, and flooding. [pick] General Computer Question 16: What is Software Piracy?

Answer: A type of computer crime that is engaged in by many people who would not ordinarily consider themselves to be criminals is the theft of computer software. This all-to-common activity is known by the overly colorful name of software piracy. Because it is very easy to make a copy of a computer program, many people do it without really considering that they might be doing something wrong. When you purchase a piece of software, you will generally find a licensing agreement attached to the package. This agreement outlines the terms under which you may use the software.

This software licensing agreement lets you know that when you purchase the software, you do not gain ownership of all aspects of program. Rather, you are purchasing a license to use the software. The copyright is held by the company that developed the program. [pick] General Computer Question 18: What is Computer Ethics? Answer: Ethics have to do with standards of moral conduct. People who are unethical do not necessarily break the law, but they do engage in activities that are damaging to others and to society at large.

Although computers offer us a wide range f exciting and innovative applications that can improve our lives, they also introduce ethical issues that have not been dealt with before. As a society, we have to decide if we will use this new tool for the betterment of mankind or for destructive purposes.. General Computer Question 22: What is computer-aided engineering (CAE)? Answer: Computer-aided engineering (CAE) programs simulate effects of conditions Examples include the use of computers to test stresses on bridges or on airplane wings before the products are built.

CAE systems generally require very powerful (and expensive) computer systems. However, the time and money that can be saved during the development and testing stages of a product are significant and usually worth the expense. [pick] General Computer Question 23: What is computer-aided manufacturing (CAM)? Answer: Computer-aided manufacturing ( CAM) involves the use of computers to control production equipment. CAM Software can control such equipment as drilling, lathe, and mailing machines as well as robots. CAM is the total integration of the manufacturing process using computers.

Through the use of highly specialized computer programs, individual production processes are linked so that the reduction flow is balanced and optimized. These systems can control product flow, at an even rate, throughout a production site. [pick] General Computer Question 24: What is computer robotics? Answer: Once a product design has moved to the production stage, robotics can be utilized in the actual manufacturing of the product. Today, many manufacturers use robots for such tasks as spot welding, drilling, lath work, and product assembly.

Although the first generation of robots had significant utility in manufacturing, new generations of robots are being developed that are even more impressive, possessing unman-like features of vision, tactile senses, and the ability to grip fragile objects. General Computer Question 25: What is artificial intelligence? Answer: Another trend in computers, the use of artificial intelligence ( AAA) programs, gives computers the capability to learn from past events. Some AAA programs are already being used to provide expert advice, control robots that learn, or to recognize objects by shape and size.

Artificial intelligence programs are expected to give computers new capabilities for understanding the human voice and for interpreting a user's natural language responses to programs. pick] Computer Hardware Questions Computer Hardware Question 1: What is Computer hardware? Answer: Computer hardware refers to the computer's machinery, its electronic of components that work together. The hardware devices are the physical components of that system. The hardware is designed to work hand-in-hand with computer programs, referred to as software. Software programs are usually designed specifically for use with one type of computer hardware. pick] Computer Hardware Question 2: When was the computer developed? Answer: Saying exactly when the computer came into existence is a little tricky cause there were a number of devices and concepts that had to be invented first. The first computers, developed during World War II, were used for mathematical calculations. One of the earliest known devices, the abacus, was a computational tool that was used to quickly add and subtract numbers. It has been in use in China for thousands of years and is still used in everyday transactions throughout the Far East.

Charles Babbage proposed the design for a new calculator that was in many ways the forerunner of today's computers. In 1822, Babbage built a working model of the preference engine and received a grant from the British government to develop a full- scale version. Unfortunately, he soon discovered that the parts that he needed could not be manufactured to tolerances that he required. Computer Hardware Question 3: What is a first generation computer? Answer: The first generation of computers is represented by the first commercial electronic computers that were based on the vacuum tube.

After the conclusion of the Second World War, the first commercially successful computer was produced by Macaulay and Kicker. They formed the Electronic Controls Company, expressly for the repose of developing and selling electronic computers. One of their first projects, a new and more powerful computer named the UNIVAC 1, was delivered to the U. S. Census Bureau in 1951. Computers of the first generation were all very large, room- sized computers that used thousands of vacuum tubes (the same kind of glowing glass tubes that were used in radios of that era).

Their design was functional for the time, but their role in business was limited by three factors - their size, the heat they generated, and their reliability problems. And, during this period, new methods of arrogating evolved along with the hardware developments. The programs for the first large-scale computers were generally changed via a slow, detailed changing of the computer's circuits. Later John von Neumann Joined McCauley and Kicker and his ideas for designing a programmable computer were incorporated into their design (that method of using stored programs is still used in computers today).

To transfer data and programs, a number of devices were invented that were based on punched paper tapes or punched cards. Computer Hardware Question 4: What is a second generation computer? Answer: The second generation of computers began in 1959 with the appearance of the first computers based on the transistor. The transistor was invented at Bell Labs Walter Britain. The transistor was used to replace the thousands of vacuum tubes that were used in the first generation of computers, resulting in smaller and faster computers that could be built at a lower cost.

Most importantly, this new generation of computers used less electricity and could be built to operate more reliably. This made them more useful to a variety of business and government organizations. [pick] Computer Hardware Question 5: What is a third generation computer? Answer: By the beginning of the sass, scientists were building on what they had learned about transistor technology by designing new computers based on integrated circuits. These integrated circuits, tiny circuits on wafers of silicon, could take the place of hundreds, even thousands, of transistors and their related electronic components.

Computers based on this new technology were known as third generation computers. In 1964 IBM changed the way computers were sold by introducing a "family" of computers known as the System 360. The family consisted of six different computers, but programs written for one of them could also be used on the others. IBM planned to sell an entry-level computer to a company and then later sell them an even more powerful computer as their business grew. The company could buy more computing power without rewriting their software.

This plan was very successful and was a key to Vim's growth. Computer Hardware Question 6: What is a fourth generation computer? Answer: During the sass, The downsizing of mainframe and minicomputers continued. By the late sass, most businesses were using computers for at least part f their data-management needs. However, the need for smaller and faster computers meant that even the integrated circuits of the third generation of computers had to be made more compact. Fourth generation computers are based on large-scale integration (LSI) of circuits.

New chip manufacturing methods meant that tens of thousands and later hundreds of thousands of circuits could be integrated into a single chip (known as EVILS for very large-scale integration).. Computer Hardware Question 7: What types of computers will we use in the future? Answer: Many believe that we are entering a fifth generation of computing, a period f smaller faster computers that we can talk to, computers that incorporate new software methods known as artificial intelligence (AAA). AAA methods give computers the capability to make decisions based on the evidence of the past, rather than on a set of programmed procedures.

If computers can be taught the rules of decision making used by human experts, expert systems based on AAA methods can be developed to take over some human tasks. [pick] Computer Hardware Question 8: What is a mainframe? Computer hardware questions 8 through 12 for information about the different types of computers). They generally cost hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars and they usually are used as central data processing and storage devices by large businesses or government agencies. The computer users can usually access the mainframes from many different offices that can be in different buildings or even in different cities.

Many people can be in contact with the mainframe at the same time and, at any one moment, the mainframe can be processing several different programs for several different users. For that reason, mainframes are often referred to as host computers in that they are host to many users in many different locations. Many printers and a variety of storage devices may be attached to the mainframe computer. [pick] Computer Hardware Question 9: What is a supercomputer? Answer: Supercomputers are often grouped together with the mainframes. But supercomputers are even more powerful (and expensive) than most mainframes.

Although they are similar in basic design to the mainframes, they may use many processors at the same time and can process data faster than any other type of computer. Supercomputers are generally used by very large companies and research institutions to process complex mathematical calculations. [pick] Computer Hardware Question 10: What is a minicomputer? Answer: Minicomputers are smaller and less expensive than mainframes. Although they may be accessed by a number of different users Just as mainframes are, there are usually fewer access sites and the access sites are usually located in closer proximity to the minicomputer.

Because they are designed to serve the needs of many different users, they are also referred to as host computers Minicomputers are generally thought of as medium-sized computers: while the mainframe may do the data processing and data storage for the widespread offices of an entire large many, minicomputers are generally limited to data processing and storage in one location (often for one department or for a smaller company). [pick] Computer Hardware Question 1 1: What is a microcomputer (PC, desktop computer)? Answer: The world's newest type of computer, the microcomputer, is now by far the most plentiful of the three computer types.

Known as personal computers or PC's, microcomputers come in many different sizes and they offer users a number of different capabilities. When microcomputers first became popular in the early sass, they were found mostly on individual desks in homes and in small businesses. But soon, these "desktop" computers began to show up in larger business and in schools and government offices. At first, these "micros" were made by very small companies and were sold in retail shops or through the mail. But eventually they became so popular that Just about every company that made any product that had anything to all sizes and shapes.

Some have grown too large to fit on desks and now reside under the desk. On the other hand, some of the new microcomputers are so small that you can carry them in your pocket (but they are still referred to as microcomputers. Sometimes more powerful microcomputers are tucked away in the back room where they serve the function off file server for a group of networked microcomputers. Computer Hardware Question 12: What is a workstation? Answer: As PC's and the internet have become more popular, their use has expanded beyond their traditional role for word processing and simple data management.

Some manufacturers have designed very powerful microcomputers that have taken over some of the more complex data management tasks that were formerly reserved for mainframes and minicomputers. These more powerful corrupters have come to be called workstations. Workstations are microcomputers in that they are based on a microprocessor. And, like other microcomputers, they are designed to be used by one person at a time. However, workstations are usually faster than PC's, often have more storage then PC's, and may use more complex and powerful operating systems than PC's.

Workstations are often used for scientific tasks or for managing detailed design and graphics tasks. [pick] Computer Hardware Question 14: What is computer storage? Answer: Storage devices store data that can be retrieved later. Primary storage offers to the temporary storage of data and computer instructions as they are being processed while secondary storage devices store data not currently being processed. [pick] Computer Hardware Question 15: What is input? Answer: The computer's input devices provide a way for humans to input data into the computer.

Input devices include keyboards, digital scanners, touch-screen monitors, and pointing devices such as mice, track balls, and light pens. Data can also be input from a variety of storage devices such as magnetic disks and tape. [pick] Computer Hardware Question 16: What is an output device? Answer: The computer's output devices output data in a form that can be interpreted by humans. Monitors (also known as video display devices) and printers are the most common output devices. The computer can also output data using devices that convert it into other forms such as sound or to storage media. pick] Answer: The central processing unit is the computer's main processing device. It functions through the interaction of three different units: (1) the control unit that interprets instructions and directs the processing, (2) the arithmetic/logic unit that performs arithmetic operations and makes comparisons, and (3) the primary storage nit that temporarily stores data during processing (main memory). The central processing unit is the most complex of the computer's hardware components, directing most of the information processing activities.

Each new generation of Cups adds new processing capabilities and, at the same time gets faster. As new processing methods are invented, new ways of miniaturizing the required circuits are also devised. This miniaturization has resulted in ever smaller, faster computers. Microcomputers that fit comfortably on your desk now have more processing power than mainframe computers that used to fill an entire room. The CPU is composed of two main parts, the control unit and the arithmetic logic unit. The CPU and Processing System Computer Hardware Question 18: What is a control unit?

Answer: The control unit controls and coordinates all of the Cups activities. Acting on instructions that it retrieves one by one from main memory (sometimes known as primary storage), the control unit interprets each instruction and carries it out. In addition, it controls input and output devices and transfers data between the arithmetic/logic unit and main memory. [pick] Computer Hardware Question 19: What is an arithmetic/logic unit (ALL])? Answer: The arithmetic/logic unit ( ALLIS) performs arithmetic computations and logical operations. The arithmetic operations include addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

The logical operations involve comparisons such as less than, greater than, or equal to. Although these may seem like simple operations, the ALL can carry out extremely complex tasks by combining these functions. To a great degree, the speed of the ALLIS determines the speed of the computer. Both the control unit and the ALL contain registers. They are temporary storage locations for managing instructions and data as they are being processed. For example, the ALL might temporarily store the result of one arithmetic calculation in a register while it performs a second calculation using that result. pick] Computer Hardware Question 20: What is the instruction cycle (I-cycle) and the execution cycle (E-Cycle)? Specified operation, the period of time it takes to retrieve the instruction and initiate the task is referred to as the instruction cycle. It may also be referred to as the l- cycle or I-time. The execution cycle refers to the period of time in which the instruction is executed and the result is stored in a register. It may also be referred o as the E-cycle or E-time. A machine cycle consists of the instruction cycle and one or more execution cycles.

A machine cycle used to be measured in milliseconds (thousandths of a second). But with the advent of ever faster JPL's, we now are more likely to measure machine cycles in microseconds (millionths of a second) or even in nanoseconds (billionths of a second) and picoseconds (trillionths of a second) in the largest and fastest computers. [pick] Computer Hardware Question 21: What is the CPU clock? Answer: The CPU has an internal clock that synchronizes all of the operations in the yes and the clock speed helps to determine the speed at which operations are carried out. [pick] Computer Hardware Question 22: What is main memory?

Answer: Computers act on instructions provided by computer programs. These instructions are temporarily stored in a special data storage area referred to as main memory. Before the CPU can act, it must retrieve instructions from main memory (also known as temporary or internal storage). The CPU may also store data in main memory temporarily as it carries out processing tasks. Data stored on these chips remains in storage until the computer changes it by changing the pattern or until the imputer is turned off. Without power, the circuits in the chips change back to their normal off-state and all the data is lost.

For that reason, this type of memory is known as volatile and it is contrasted to more permanent types of storage systems that are known as nonvolatile. This type of primary storage is also known as random-access memory ( RAM) and the chips are referred to as random-access memory chips. However, the term "random" may not be the best way to refer to this type of memory. While almost all of today's computers use some random-access method of storing ATA (that is, the computer can retrieve data from wherever it is stored, randomly), the term RAM is reserved for the computer's primary, chip-based memory system.