Question 6 What are the basic components and types of computer systems? Provide some descriptions with your examples.
The basic components of all computer systems whether they are microcomputers or supercomputer all contain six basic building blocks: input, output, memory, arithmetic/logical unit, control unit and files. A computer system needs input devices for entering data into the computer for processing. The most common input devices are keyboards and mice. Input devices have now expanded to other methods such as voice input, magnetic ink character recognition (MICR), Optical character recognition (OCR), scanning bar code label, etc. The output devices are used to produce the results of the processing done by the computer. The most common output devices include computer screen or monitor, printer, or writing output on CD or DVD. Computer memory or main memory holds the program instructions and data. All data flows are to and from memory. Arithmetic and Logic Unit consist of incredibly small integrated circuits on a silicon chip. It is mainly responsible for arithmetic function of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division calculation, logical comparison and decision. Computer files storage devices sometimes called secondary or backing storage is used to store programs and data when they are not being used. Secondary storage is nonvolatile. File devices include hard disk drive, magnetic tape drives, flash drives, and CD or DVD. Control Unit provides the control that enables the computer to take advantage of the speed and capacity of its other components. It controls the sequence of instruction to be executed, controls the flow of data, interpret instructions, and it regulate timing of processor (Brown et al., 2012).
Types of computer systems are categorized into microcomputers, midrange systems, mainframes and supercomputers. Microcomputers are primarily used for personal computing or small business processing.
References: Brown, C. V., DeHayes, D. W., Hoffer, J. A., Martin, E. W., & Perkins, W. C. (2012). Managing information technology (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. Service, R. (2013). China’s supercomputer regains no. 1 ranking. Retrieved from http://news.sciencemag.org/technology/2013/06/chinas-supercomputer-regains-no.-1-ranking