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Types of Computer

The computers are classified, according to the basic principles of computation, into three broad categories. They are:


Digital Computers

  • A digital computer stores data in digits and proceeds in a discrete format
  • It is like a adding machine, counts rather than measures
  • It deals with discrete signals and works with high precision and at tremendous speed.
  • It has a very large memory that can store huge quantities of data.
  • Thus, the digital computer can be used for both data processing and scientific applications.
  • All modern computers are digital.

Analog Computers

  • An analog computer is simpler in construction and capable of solving complex time-dependent problems.
  • The physical quantities such as pressure, temperature etc., are represented in the form of volts and processed by operational amplifiers.
  • It has very limited memory.
  • Since it receives and gives out information only in the form of varying quantities, it lacks perfection and flexibility.
  • Hence, the use of analog computers is limited to the scientific, engineering and process control fields where the data are subjected to continuously vary.
  • Analog computers cannot store or process alphanumeric information.

Hybrid Computers

  • It is the combination of both analog and digital computers
  • The hybrid computers possess all the good qualities of the analog and the digital computers.
  • A hybrid computer contains several special devices, by the use of which the analog value or data could be converted into the digital and vice versa so that, the desired output can be accomplished.
  • Computers used for process control, control of space vehicles, fighter air crafts etc., are hybrid computers.

Classification of computers according to the processing capability

  • Computers are also available in different sizes and with different processing capabilities. Broadly, they may be categorized as:
    • Microcomputer
    • Minicomputer
    • Mainframe computer
    • Supercomputer
    • Laptops
    • Palmtops

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