COMPUTER SYSTEM FUNDAMENTALS
Computer System as a Universal Tool
A computer system is an electronic device that accepts inputs; transform the input through some processes to obtain output or information that can aid effective decision making. Information originated from raw data which by its own simple definition is any raw fact or figure that can be subjected to a form of manipulation before it can be trusted for decision making. Data can originate from various sources depending on the user or purpose of gathering and can be processed manually, mechanically, electromechanically or pure electronically e.g. statistical data gathered through surveying, personnel data, student data through filling of some forms. Data processing can be said to be the core of computation. Computer happens to be one of the efficient tools for such processing. The days of analytic engine, abacus computers witnessed a gigantic machine being operated manually by operators. Programs then were written in binary which represents machine codes and the size of the equipment then were bigger than the computers of nowadays. The early computers were used as number crunchers. Around 1930, the use of computer has taken a new dimension as it has become an all-pervasive tool deployed to virtually to all spheres of human endeavours. Tedious calculations were subjected to data processing department for ease of processing and accuracy. The advancement in ability to hold valuable data for longer time was embedded into the computer functions through the stored-program concept introduced by John Von Neumann. We discuss this architecture in the next section. It should be observed that the evolution of computer networks and Internet through advancement in technological devices in early nineteen century has turned round the whole world to operate like a village where resources can be tapped with ease without any transportation. This is 0 say that the computer system has become a universal tool found on most desks, be it at home, offices, space, churches, and mosques even in the market places. The use of computer has cuts across all disciplines like law, health, communications, environmental and all sorts of human endeavors.
2. Developmental Changes In Computer Industry
Development in computer industry, compared to other industry has taken off rapidly. This is propelled by dramatic improvements in its technology that has reduced its price, size and escalated its capability and convenience of usage. The introduction of microprocessors in the eighties has brought startling new applications for computer industry, creating new jobs and changing the work place. Computer industry has witnessed about four stages of development: batch processing in the 1960s, the time sharing systems of 1970s, personal computing around 1980s and network and mobile computing services evolution of 1990s to date. the four stages are analysed in the table 1.1 below
Table 1.1: Developmental stages in Computing
| |DECADE |USERS |Location |Input medium |New Markets Reached |Jobs created or affected | |BATCH PROCESSING |196S |Expert |Computer room |Punch cards |Governments, banks |Programmers are needed | | | | | |(Hollerith cards) | | | |TIME SHARING |1970S |Specialists |Terminal room |Keyboard (command-line |Corporations, |Information analysts, data | | | | | |interface) |insurance airlines |entry clerks needed | |PERSONAL COMPUTING|1980S |Individuals |Desktop |Keyboard and mouse |Offices, schools, |Most white collar jobs | | | | | |(graphic user interface)...
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