Types of Computers
The most powerful computers in terms of performance and data processing are the supercomputers. These are specialized and task specific computers used by large organizations. These computers are used for research and exploration purposes, like NASA uses supercomputers for launching space shuttles, controlling them and for space exploration purpose.
Uses of Supercomputer
In Pakistan and other countries Supercomputers are used by Educational Institutes like NUST (Pakistan) for research purposes. Pakistan Atomic Energy commission & Heavy Industry Taxila uses supercomputers for Research purposes.
Supercomputers are used to study the origin of the universe, the dark-matters. For these studies scientist use IBM’s powerful supercomputer “Roadrunner” at National Laboratory Los Alamos.
Supercomputers are used to study the Earthquakes phenomenon. Besides that supercomputers are used for natural resources exploration, like natural gas, petroleum, coal, etc.
Supercomputers are used for weather forecasting, and to study the nature and extent of Hurricanes, Rainfalls, windstorms, etc.
Nuclear weapons testing
Supercomputers are used to run weapon simulation that can test the Range, accuracy & impact of Nuclear weapons.
- IBM’s Sequoia, in United States
- Fujitsu’s K Computer in Japan
- IBM’s Mira in United States
- IBM’s SuperMUC in Germany
- NUDT Tianhe-1A in China
Although Mainframes are not as powerful as supercomputers, but certainly they are quite expensive nonetheless, and many large firms & government organizations uses Mainframes to run their business operations. The Mainframe computers can be accommodated in large air-conditioned rooms because of its size. Super-computers are the fastest computers with large data storage capacity, Mainframes can also process & store large amount of data. Banks educational institutions & insurance companies use mainframe computers to store data about their customers, students & insurance policy holders.
Popular Mainframe computers
- Fujitsu’s ICL VME
- Hitachi’s Z800
Minicomputers are used by small businesses & firms. Minicomputers are also called as“Midrange Computers”. These are small machines and can be accommodated on a disk with not as processing and data storage capabilities as super-computers & Mainframes. These computers are not designed for a single user. Individual departments of a large company or organizations use Mini-computers for specific purposes. For example, a production department can use Mini-computers for monitoring certain production process.
- Texas Instrument TI-990
- IBM Midrange computers
Desktop computers, laptops, personal digital assistant (PDA), tablets & smartphones are alltypes of microcomputers. The micro-computers are widely used & the fastest growing computers. These computers are the cheapest among the other three types of computers. The Micro-computers are specially designed for general usage like entertainment, education and work purposes. Well known manufacturers of Micro-computer are Dell, Apple, Samsung, Sony & Toshiba.
Desktop computers, Gaming consoles, Sound & Navigation system of a car, Netbooks, Notebooks, PDA’s, Tablet PC’s, Smartphones, Calculators are all type of Microcomputers.
Usages Of Computers
Getting the right kind of information is a major challenge as is getting information to make sense. College students spend an average of 5-6 hours a week on the internet.Research shows that computers can significantly enhance performance in learning. Students exposed to the internet say they think the web has helped them improve the quality of their academic research and of their written work. One revolution in education is the advent of distance learning. This offers a variety of internet and video-based online courses.
Health and Medicine :
Computer technology is radically changing the tools of medicine. All medical information can now be digitized. Software is now able tocomputer the risk of a disease. Mental health researchers are using computers to screen troubled teenagers in need of psychotherapy. A patient paralyzed by a stroke has received an implant that allows communication between his brain and a computer; as a result, he can move a cursor across a screen by brainpower and convey simple messages.
Scientists have long been users of it. A new adventure among scientists is the idea of a “collaboratory”, an internet based collaborative laboratory, in which researchers all over the world can work easily together even at a distance. An example is space physics where space physicists are allowed to band together to measure the earth’s ionosphere from instruments on four parts of the world.
Business clearly see the interest as a way to enhance productivity and competitiveness. Some areas of business that are undergoing rapid changes are sales and marketing, retailing, banking, stock trading, etc. Sales representatives not only need to be better educated and more knowledgeable about their customer’s businesses, but also must be comfortable with computer technology. The internet has become a popular marketing tool. The world of cybercash has come to banking – not only smart cards but internet banking, electronic deposit, bill paying, online stock and bond trading, etc.
Recreation and Entertainment:
Our entertainment and pleasure-time have also been affected by computerization. For example:
i) In movies, computer generated graphics give freedom to designers so that special effects and even imaginary characters can play a part in making movies, videos, and commercials.
ii) In sports, computers compile statistics, sell tickets, create training programs and diets for athletes, and suggest game plan strategies based on the competitor’s past performance.
iii) In restaurants, almost every one has eaten food where the clerk enters an order by indicating choices on a rather unusual looking cash register; the device directly enters the actual data into a computer, and calculates the cost and then prints a receipt.
Various departments of the Government use computer for their planning, control and law enforcement activities. To name a few – Traffic, Tourism, Information & Broadcasting, Education, Aviation and many others.
There are many uses computers in Defence such as:
1) Controlling UAV or unmanned air-crafts an example is Predator. If you have cable I would recommend watching the shows “Future Weapons” and “Modern Marvels”. The show future weapon gives an entire hour to the predator.
2) They are also used on Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) that uses GPS and Computers to help the missile get to the target.
3) Computers are used to track incoming missiles and help slew weapons systems onto the incoming target to destroy them.
4) Computers are used in helping the military find out where all their assets are (Situational Awareness) and in Communications/Battle Management Systems.
5) Computers are used in the logistic and ordering functions of getting equipments to and around the battlefield.
6) Computers are used in tanks and planes and ships to target enemy forces, help run the platform and more recently to help diagnose any problems with the platforms.
7) Computers help design and test new systems.
In today’s technologically growing society, computers are being used in nearly every activity.
Official statistics keepers and some scouts use computers to record statistics, take notes and chat online while attending and working at a sports event.
The best athletes pay close attention to detail. Computers can slow recorded video and allow people to study their specific movements to try to improve their tendencies and repair poor habits.
Many sportswriters attend several sporting events a week, and they take their computers with them to write during the game or shortly after while their thoughts are fresh in their mind.
While some scoreboards are manually updated, most professional sports venues have very modern scoreboards that are programmed to update statistics and information immediately after the information is entered into the computer.
Computers have aided in the design of safety equipment in sports such as football helmets to shoes to mouth guards