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What is a Computer?

Definition: A computer is an electronic device capable of performing all tasks in the desired way by executing a detailed set of instruction called programs.


  • Computers can access and process data millions of times faster than a human can.
  • It stores information and data in its memory, processes the data and produces desired result.
  • It does different tasks such as playing games, railway reservation, weather forecasting, error detection, online reservation etc.
  • It is used essentially as a data processor.
  • The terms data and information are commonly used in computer.

Data vs Information



Collection of raw facts and figures

Collection of useful knowledge which is derived from data.

Example: 'Tom',1980, 'x',162

Example: Tom scored 'A' grade in his term examination.

General Characteristics of a Computer

A Computer does any complex problems quickly and perfectly, when proper instruction or program, and data are fed. Such unimaginable functions are possible in this machine, only because of its exceptional characteristics, which are illustrated as follows:
  • High speed
  • Large memory capacity
  • Accuracy
  • Diligence
  • Repetitiveness
  • Reliability
  • Endurance
  • Versatility

Advantages of Computers

  • Processing and labour cost can be reduced to a large extent.
  • Better design of components and automation in every component can be obtained.
  • Higher accuracy can be obtained using computers.
  • Any problem can be easily solved using the computers.
  • As computers can process at a high speed, a lot of time can be saved.

Disadvantages of Computers

  • Lack of decision making power
  • IQ Zero

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