Science and technology has a major role to play in modern life of mankind. It has shown miracles in the world from the days of communications with pigeons, the time has ripen where the information floats. Scientists and technologists have made many achievements in recent past. We have developed methods of communication, calculation, transportation and other domestic appliances. Among all these achievements computer has its own place. The invention of the computer is the result of constant and laborious efforts of the scientists and all this credit goes to Charles Babbage. The first automatic electronic computer was made in Pennsylvania in 1946 and known as ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Calculator). Since then it has changed the pattern of doing work easily and quickly. It has also revolutionized the whole world.
The computers vary tremendously in size, from laptop and desktop models to huge machines occupying an entire room or even more, but they all contain the same components which came under the heading of hardware and software. Hardware is the term given to all the machines that make up a computer and the collection of machines is called a computer configuration. Software refers to the programmes that instruct the machine.
There are two basic types of computers—digital and analog. Both types are highly complex systems of electrical circuits to carry out complicated calculations or to solve difficult problems. The hybrid is a third type which consists of a combination of the other two. The digital computer is basically a counting machine. A small digital computer is able to multiply, divide, subtract and add, all at high speed, which are electrically powered and operated by hand like typewriters. Larger digital computer receives data or information on punched-card or magnetic tape. This data is read by the unit called the reader, which converts it into a form useable by computer. The analog computers are specially designed to deal with particular problems such as guiding Moon rockets.
Today the computer permeates the whole world of work, in homes, in factories, in schools, in hospitals, in offices, in hotels etc. because it is an enormously flexible tool that can be used in a wide variety of ways; depending on needs and available resources. The computers are effective in individualizing education, in simplifying the extensive record keeping. Therefore familiarity with the computer is considered a strong vocational advantage and saleable skill. The computers are here to stay in the modern world and the more we understand them, the better will be the days ahead of us. For with their help and one’s skills, the present can be utilized to predict what is sure to come and be well prepared to meet the challenge.
Today the computer makes us aware of an earthquake, an accident in air or water. Weather forecasts are done by computers. The use of computer is expanding day by day. It collects its data and selects correct answers. It can do figure work on a large scale. All the big concerns and government offices use computers for their pay rolls and other figure work. The Indian railways and air traffic departments have computerized their function in various divisions. All the big and developed countries use computer to solve their climatic, industrial and commercial problems. Many countries control the traffic with the help of computers.
Today even class room teaching is being done through computers in many schools.