Advantages & Disadvantages Of Computers

A computer is a digital electronic machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. They perform many sets of operations called programs which enable the computer to perform a wide range of tasks.

Types of Computers

There are many different types of computers. Computers are generally classified as:

Types-of-Computers
  • Personal Computers
  • Super Computers
  • Mini Computers
  • Mainframe Computers

Personal Computers

(PC) or microcomputers is a term mainly used to describe desktop computers. It is the most common type of computer used worldwide. These computers consist of a central processing unit (CPU), two types of memory (RAM and ROM), Hard and Magnetic discs for storage and input and output devices like the keyboard and mouse.

Super Computers

Super Computers are the fastest modern-day computers. They differ from other types of computers and are not readily available for commercial use. A supercomputer consists of tens of thousands of CPUs and is capable of performing trillions of calculations per second. Hundreds of users can operate it at the same time. They are very expensive and mostly used by the aerospace and automotive industries.

Mini Computers

Mini Computers lie in the middle range of computing devices. They are very small multiprocessor computers used in organizations for basic tasks such as management and accounting. Examples are the various smartphones and tablets.

Mainframe Computers

Mainframe Computers are used by large companies and organizations for high-speed bulk data processing at a very large scale. These computers are used for accounting, information retrieval and scientific engineering computations. The mainframe acts as a ‘server’ which is then connected to hundreds of thousands of users. They offer fast processing speeds and can easily handle multiple inputs at the same time.

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Uses of Computers

Computers offer many advantages to our day-to-day life. This is the reason why they have become an inevitable part of our lives.

  • High-performance computers are used in the field of science and engineering to store humungous amounts of research data, analyze it with ease and provide tangible outputs which would otherwise take years for humans to compute on their own.
  • Computers are an important tool in the safety and security department. When paired with security cameras they can help track down specific individuals, preventing any criminal activities. Face recognition and fingerprint recognition methods prove to be more secure than passwords and make life easier for people.
  • Government sectors rely majorly on computers for defence. All powerful militaries in the world rely on computers for their defence. Air forces and Navies can figure out how to structure and maintain planes and ships respectively.
  • Education sector benefits greatly from computers. In recent times, online lectures and video calls have proven to be very useful to students who could not make it to educational institutions.
  • In healthcare, the use of computers has become crucial allowing hospitals to keep track of their patients digitally. Everything has been digitized, reducing paperwork. They also help in the detection of many deadly diseases using CT scanning and MRIs.

History of Computers

History of Computers

Primitive Computers

The first computing devices date back to ancient history. The Abacus, a 4000-year-old invention was the first ever computer used to perform basic arithmetic functions. As the need for more complex calculations arose, humans developed advanced computing devices. The Abacus became the Pascaline which developed into the Leibnitz wheel, from where the Difference and Analytical engines were born.

Modern Computers

  • Differential Analyzer was the first electronic computer introduced in 1930. Its vacuum tubes could switch electrical signals to perform up to 25 calculations in a few minutes.
  • Mark I was the first ever programmable digital computer built in 1937 as a partnership between Harvard and IBM. It could perform calculations involving large numbers.
  • First-Generation Computers: Built from 1946-1959, first-generation computers were slow, large and expensive. They used vacuum tubes as their CPU and memories. Examples: ENIAC, EDVAC and IBM-650.
  • Second-Generation Computers, built from 1959-1965, were transistor-based computers. They consumed less power and were cheaper and more compact. Examples: IBM 1620, CDC 3600 and UNIVAC 1108.
  • Third-Generation Computers were manufactured from 1965-1971. They used integrated circuits instead of transistors and were more reliable and cost-effective. Examples: IBM-360 series, Honeywell-6000 series and TDC-316
  • Fourth-Generation Computers were built from 1971-1980. They used microprocessors called Very Large Scale Integrated (VLSI) Circuits. Examples: IBM 434 and STAR 1000.
  • Fifth-Generation Computers were built from 1980 onwards. VLSI was replaced with ULSI (Ultra Large Scale Integration) technology. This generation uses AI software and programming languages like C++ and Java. Examples: Desktops and Laptops.

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ADVANTAGES Of Computers

Following are some advantages of computers:

Storage

Computers have built-in memories where large amounts of data and knowledge can be stored electronically. Auxiliary storage devices can also store data.

Reliability

Computers can perform the same task repeatedly without any errors or mistakes making them reliable. They do not face the problems of boredom or tiredness which are faced by humans, allowing for reliable data collection.

Accuracy

Computers ensure accurate results. They not only perform all sorts of calculations but they do so accurately without any mistakes making them very advantageous in completing tasks which would be impossible for humans to complete on their own.

Speed

Not only are computers amazing and accurate computing devices but they also perform these calculations at rapid speeds. They perform vital roles in human tasks and their computing speeds prove helpful in many fields.

Multitasking

Multitasking is a fundamental advantage of computers. Computers can perform multiple tasks of different magnitudes at the same time without any chance of error.

DISADVANTAGES Of Computers

Following are some disadvantages of computers:

Cybercrime

Cybercrime is an unavoidable disadvantage of computers. Criminals around the world use computers to steal personal information and sell it to third parties or use it to harass the victim. Hacking, online harassment, identity theft, digital piracy, money laundering, counterfeiting and several illegal and harmful acts are carried out using computers.

Health Problems

Long hours of sedentary work at a computer desk can cause neck and back pain, faulty posture and diseases from lack of physical activity. Computer screens emit blue light that is injurious to human eyes. A computer screen also causes imbalances in the hormones and neurotransmitters of the body leading to mental health issues and imbalances in the sleep-wake cycle.

Wastage of Time

With the advent of the internet, entertainment is only a click away. Wasting time binge-watching new Netflix seasons or endlessly scrolling through social media websites is a common trend among the youth of today.

Addiction

Internet Dependence or Compulsive Computer Use is a modern addiction plaguing young minds. One in every four children is affected. It leads to antisocial behavior, reduced workplace performance and a multitude of mental issues like depression and anxiety.

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Conclusion

Computers are an ingenious invention that has boosted growth in every walk of life. Today, a life without computers seems unimaginable. However, too much dependence on computers can lead to us humans becoming less productive and more socially isolated. The use of computers must be strictly moderated to reap the advantages and limit the disadvantages.

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