About the Tutorial

Computer is an advanced electronic device that takes raw data as an input from the user and processes it under the control of a set of instructions (called program), produces a result (output), and saves it for future use.

This tutorial explains the foundational concepts of computer hardware, software, operating systems, peripherals, etc. along with how to get the most value and impact from computer technology.

 

 

 

 
 

Audience

This tutorial has been prepared for beginners as well as advanced learners who want to deal with computers. The tutorial is also very useful for undergraduate students of computer science, engineering, business administration, management, science, commerce and arts, where an introductory course on computers is a part of curriculum.

After completing this tutorial, you will find yourself at a moderate level of expertise in the knowledge of computer basics from where you can take yourself to the next level.

 

 

 

 
 

Prerequisites

Knowledge of computers is not a prerequisite to follow the contents of this tutorial. This tutorial assumes no background in Computers or Computer programming.

 

 

 

 
 

Copyright & Disclaimer

ã Copyright 2017 by No.1 IT Nepal Pvt. Ltd.

All the content and graphics published in this e-book are the property of No.1 IT Nepal Pvt. Ltd. The user of this e-book is prohibited to reuse, retain, copy, distribute or republish any contents or a part of contents of this e-book in any manner without written consent of the publisher.

We strive to update the contents of our website and tutorials as timely and as precisely as possible, however, the contents may contain inaccuracies or errors. No.1 IT Nepal Pvt. Ltd. provides no guarantee regarding the accuracy, timeliness or completeness of our website or its contents including this tutorial. If you discover any errors on our website or in this tutorial, please notify us at no1itnepal@gmail.com

 

 

 Table of Contents                                                                                         

 

 

About the Tutorial................................................................................................................... i

Audience............................................................................................................................... i

Prerequisites.......................................................................................................................... i

Copyright & Disclaimer............................................................................................................. i

Table of Contents................................................................................................................... ii

  1. COMPUTER FUNDAMENTALS ─ OVERVIEW..................................................................... 1

Functionalities of a Computer................................................................................................... 1

Advantages of Computers........................................................................................................ 1

Disadvantages of Computers.................................................................................................... 3

  1. COMPUTER FUNDAMENTALS ─ APPLICATIONS................................................................ 4
  2. COMPUTER FUNDAMENTALS ─ GENERATIONS................................................................ 8

First Generation Computers..................................................................................................... 8

Second Generation Computers............................................................................................... 10

Third Generation Computers.................................................................................................. 11

Fourth Generation Computers................................................................................................ 12

Fifth Generation Computers................................................................................................... 13

  1. COMPUTER FUNDAMENTALS ─ TYPES........................................................................... 15
  2. COMPUTER FUNDAMENTALS ─ COMPONENTS............................................................. 18
  3. COMPUTER FUNDAMENTALS ─ CENTRAL PROCESSING UNIT........................................ 20
  4. COMPUTER FUNDAMENTALS ─ INPUT DEVICES............................................................ 22
  5. COMPUTER FUNDAMENTALS ─ OUTPUT DEVICES......................................................... 29

Monitors............................................................................................................................. 29

Printers.............................................................................................................................. 30

  1. COMPUTER FUNDAMENTALS ─ MEMORY..................................................................... 36

Cache Memory..................................................................................................................... 36

Primary Memory (Main Memory)............................................................................................ 37

Secondary Memory............................................................................................................... 38

  1. COMPUTER FUNDAMENTALS ─ RANDOM ACCESS MEMORY....................................... 39

Static RAM (SRAM)................................................................................................................ 39

Dynamic RAM (DRAM)........................................................................................................... 40

  1. COMPUTER FUNDAMENTALS ─ READ ONLY MEMORY................................................. 41
  2. COMPUTER FUNDAMENTALS ─ MOTHERBOARD.......................................................... 43
  3. COMPUTER FUNDAMENTALS ─ MEMORY UNITS........................................................... 45
  4. COMPUTER FUNDAMENTALS ─ PORTS.......................................................................... 46
  5. COMPUTER FUNDAMENTALS ─ HARDWARE.................................................................. 49
  6. COMPUTER FUNDAMENTALS ─ SOFTWARE................................................................... 51

System Software.................................................................................................................. 51

Application Software............................................................................................................. 52

  1. COMPUTER FUNDAMENTALS ─ NUMBER SYSTEM........................................................ 53

Decimal Number System........................................................................................................ 53

Binary Number System.......................................................................................................... 54

Octal Number System........................................................................................................... 54

Hexadecimal Number System................................................................................................. 55

  1. COMPUTER FUNDAMENTALS ─ NUMBER CONVERSION............................................... 56

Decimal to Other Base System................................................................................................ 56

Other Base System to Decimal System..................................................................................... 57

Other Base System to Non-Decimal System............................................................................... 58

Shortcut Method ─ Binary to Octal........................................................................................... 59

Shortcut method ─ Octal to Binary........................................................................................... 59

Shortcut Method ─ Binary to Hexadecimal................................................................................ 60

Shortcut Method ─ Hexadecimal to Binary................................................................................ 60

  1. COMPUTER FUNDAMENTALS ─ DATA AND INFORMATION........................................... 61
  2. COMPUTER FUNDAMENTALS ─ NETWORKING.............................................................. 63
  3. COMPUTER FUNDAMENTALS ─ OPERATING SYSTEM.................................................... 67
  4. COMPUTER FUNDAMENTALS ─ INTERNET AND INTRANET........................................... 69
  5. COMPUTER FUNDAMENTALS ─ HOW TO BUY A COMPUTER?...................................... 71
  6. COMPUTER FUNDAMENTALS ─ AVAILABLE COURSES................................................... 74

 

 

 

1.    Computer Fundamentals ─ Overview

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s world is an information-rich world and it has become a necessity for everyone to know about computers. A computer is an electronic data processing device, which accepts and stores data input, processes the data input, and generates the output in a required format.

The purpose of this tutorial is to introduce you to Computers and its fundamentals.

 

 Functionalities of a Computer                                                                                                       

If we look at it in a very broad sense, any digital computer carries out the following five functions:

Step 1 - Takes data as input.

Step 2 - Stores the data/instructions in its memory and uses them as required.

Step 3 - Processes the data and converts it into useful information.

Step 4 - Generates the output.

Step 5 - Controls all the above four steps.

 

 
 
 

 

 

 
 

Advantages of Computers

Following are certain advantages of computers.

 

High Speed

< >Computer is a very fast device.It is capable of performing calculation of very large amount of data.The computer has units of speed in microsecond, nanosecond, and even the picosecond.
  • It can perform millions of calculations in a few seconds as compared to man who will spend many months to perform the same task.

 

 

 

Accuracy

  • In addition to being very fast, computers are very accurate.

 

  • The calculations are 100% error free.

 

  • Computers perform all jobs with 100% accuracy provided that the input is correct.

 

Storage Capability

  • Memory is a very important characteristic of computers.

 

  • A computer has much more storage capacity than human beings.

 

  • It can store large amount of data.

 

  • It can store any type of data such as images, videos, text, audio, etc.

 

Diligence

  • Unlike human beings, a computer is free from monotony, tiredness, and lack of concentration.

 

  • It can work continuously without any error and boredom.

 

  • It can perform repeated tasks with the same speed and accuracy.

 

Versatility

  • A computer is a very versatile machine.

 

  • A computer is very flexible in performing the jobs to be done.

 

  • This machine can be used to solve the problems related to various fields.

 

  • At one instance, it may be solving a complex scientific problem and the very next moment it may be playing a card game.

 

Reliability

  • A computer is a reliable machine.
  • Modern electronic components have long lives.
 
  • Computers are designed to make maintenance easy.

 

Automation

  • Computer is an automatic machine.

 

  • Automation is the ability to perform a given task automatically. Once the computer receives a program i.e., the program is stored in the computer memory, then the program and instruction can control the program execution without human interaction.

 

Reduction in Paper Work and Cost

  • The use of computers for data processing in an organization leads to reduction in paper work and results in speeding up the process.

 

  • As data in electronic files can be retrieved as and when required, the problem of maintenance of large number of paper files gets reduced.

 

  • Though the initial investment for installing a computer is high, it substantially reduces the cost of each of its transaction.

 

 

 
 

Disadvantages of Computers

Following are certain disadvantages of computers.

 

No I.Q.

  • A computer is a machine that has no intelligence to perform any task.
  • Each instruction has to be given to the computer.
  • A computer cannot take any decision on its own.

 

Dependency

  • It functions as per the user’s instruction, thus it is fully dependent on humans.

 

Environment

  • The operating environment of the computer should be dust free and suitable.

 

No Feeling

  • Computers have no feelings or emotions.

 

  • It cannot make judgment based on feeling, taste, experience, and knowledge unlike humans.
 

 

 

2.    Computer Fundamentals ─ Applications

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In this chapter, we will discuss the application of computers in various fields.

 

Business

A computer has high speed of calculation, diligence, accuracy, reliability, or versatility which has made it an integrated part in all business organizations.

Computer is used in business organizations for:

< >Payroll calculationsBudgetingSales analysisFinancial forecastingManaging employee databaseMaintenance of stocks, etc.Today, banking is almost totally dependent on computers.

 

Banks provide the following facilities:

< >Online accounting facility, which includes checking current balance, making deposits and overdrafts, checking interest charges, shares, and trustee records.ATM machines which are completely automated are making it even easier for customers to deal with banks.

Insurance

Insurance companies are keeping all records up- to-date with the help of computers. Insurance companies, finance houses, and stock broking firms are widely using computers for their concerns.

Insurance companies are maintaining a database of all clients with information showing:

  • Procedure to continue with policies
  • Starting date of the policies
  • Next due installment of a policy
  • Maturity date
  • Interests due
  • Survival benefits
  • Bonus

 

Education

The computer helps in providing a lot of facilities in the education system.

  • The computer provides a tool in the education system known as CBE (Computer Based Education).

 

  • CBE    involves    control,    delivery, and evaluation of learning.

 

  • Computer education is rapidly increasing the graph of number of computer students.

 

  • There are a number of methods in which educational institutions can use a computer to educate the students.

 

  • It is used to prepare a database about

performance of a student and analysis is carried out on this basis.

 

Marketing

 

In marketing, uses of the computer are following:

  • Advertising - With computers, advertising professionals create art and graphics, write and revise copy, and print and disseminate ads with the goal of selling more products.

 

  • Home Shopping - Home shopping has been made possible through the use of computerized catalogues that provide access to product information and permit direct entry of orders to be filled by the customers.

 

Healthcare

Computers have become an important part in hospitals, labs, and dispensaries. They are being used in hospitals to keep the record of patients and medicines. It is also used in scanning and diagnosing different diseases. ECG, EEG, ultrasounds and CT scans, etc. are also done by computerized machines.

 

 

Following are some major fields of health care in which computers are used.

  • Diagnostic System - Computers are used to collect data and identify the cause of illness.

 

  • Lab-diagnostic System - All tests can be done and the reports are prepared by computer.

 

  • Patient Monitoring System - These are used to check the patient's signs for abnormality such as in Cardiac Arrest, ECG, etc.

 

  • Pharma           Information           System

- Computer is used to check drug labels, expiry dates, harmful side effects, etc.

 

  • Surgery - Nowadays, computers are also used in performing surgery.

 

Engineering Design

Computers are widely used for Engineering purpose.

One of the major areas is CAD (Computer Aided Design) that provides creation and modification of images. Some of the fields are:

 
  • Structural Engineering - Requires stress and strain analysis for design of ships, buildings, budgets, airplanes, etc.

 

  • Industrial Engineering - Computers deal with design, implementation, and improvement of integrated systems of people, materials, and equipment.

 

  • Architectural Engineering - Computers help in planning towns, designing buildings, determining a range of buildings on a site using both 2D and 3D drawings.

 

Military

Computers are largely used in defence. Modern tanks, missiles, weapons, etc. Military also employs computerized control systems. Some military areas where a computer has been used are:

  • Missile Control
  • Military Communication
  • Military Operation and Planning
  • Smart Weapons

 

Communication

Communication is a way to convey a message, an idea, a picture, or speech that is received and understood clearly and correctly by the person

for whom it is meant. Some main areas in this category are:

  • E-mail
  • Chatting
  • Usenet
  • FTP
  • Telnet
  • Video-conferencing
 

Government

Computers play an important role in government services. Some major fields in this category are:

  • Budgets
  • Sales tax department
  • Income tax department
  • Computation of male/female ratio
  • Computerization of voters lists
  • Computerization of PAN card
  • Weather forecasting
 

 

 

3.    Computer Fundamentals ─ Generations

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Generation in computer terminology is a change in technology a computer is/was being used. Initially, the generation term was used to distinguish between varying hardware technologies. Nowadays, generation includes both hardware and software, which together make up an entire computer system.

There are five computer generations known till date. Each generation has been discussed in detail along with their time period and characteristics. In the following table, approximate dates against each generation has been mentioned, which are normally accepted.

Following are the main five generations of computers.

 

Sr.

No.

Generation & Description

 

1

First Generation

The period of first generation: 1946-1959. Vacuum tube based.

 

2

Second Generation

The period of second generation: 1959-1965. Transistor based.

 

3

Third Generation

The period of third generation: 1965-1971. Integrated Circuit based.

 

4

Fourth Generation

The period of fourth generation: 1971-1980. VLSI microprocessor based.

 

5

Fifth Generation

The period of fifth generation: 1980-onwards. ULSI microprocessor based.

 

 

 
 

First Generation Computers

The period of first generation was from 1946-1959. The computers of first generation used vacuum tubes as the basic components for memory and circuitry for CPU (Central Processing Unit). These tubes, like electric bulbs, produced a lot of heat and the installations used to fuse frequently. Therefore, they were very expensive and only large organizations were able to afford it.

 

In this generation, mainly batch processing operating system was used. Punch cards, paper tape, and magnetic tape was used as input and output devices. The computers in this generation used machine code as the programming language.

 

 
 
 

 

The main features of the first generation are:

  • Vacuum tube technology
  • Unreliable
  • Supported machine language only
  • Very costly
  • Generated a lot of heat
  • Slow input and output devices
  • Huge size
  • Need of AC
 
  • Non-portable
  • Consumed a lot of electricity

 

 

 

 

Some computers of this generation were:

  • ENIAC
  • EDVAC
  • UNIVAC
  • IBM-701
  • IBM-650

 

 Second Generation Computers                                                                                                     

The period of second generation was from 1959-1965. In this generation, transistors were used that were cheaper, consumed less power, more compact in size, more reliable and faster than the first generation machines made of vacuum tubes. In this generation, magnetic cores were used as the primary memory and magnetic tape and magnetic disks as secondary storage devices.

In this generation, assembly language and high-level programming languages like FORTRAN, COBOL were used. The computers used batch processing and multiprogramming operating system.

 

 
 
 

The main features of second generation are:

  • Use of transistors
  • Reliable in comparison to first generation computers
  • Smaller size as compared to first generation computers
  • Generated less heat as compared to first generation computers
  • Consumed less electricity as compared to first generation computers
  • Faster than first generation computers
  • Still very costly
  • AC required
  • Supported machine and assembly languages

 

Some computers of this generation were:

  • IBM 1620
  • IBM 7094
  • CDC 1604
  • CDC 3600
  • UNIVAC 1108

 

 Third Generation Computers                                                                                                                                 

The period of third generation was from 1965-1971. The computers of third generation used Integrated Circuits (ICs) in place of transistors. A single IC has many transistors, resistors, and capacitors along with the associated circuitry.

The IC was invented by Jack Kilby. This development made computers smaller in size, reliable, and efficient. In this generation remote processing, time-sharing, multi-programming operating system were used. High-level languages (FORTRAN-II TO IV, COBOL, PASCAL PL/1, BASIC, ALGOL-68 etc.) were used during this generation.

 

 

The main features of third generation are:

  • IC used
  • More reliable in comparison to previous two generations
  • Smaller size
  • Generated less heat
  • Faster
  • Lesser maintenance
  • Costly
  • AC required
  • Consumed lesser electricity
  • Supported high-level language

 

Some computers of this generation were:

  • IBM-360 series
  • Honeywell-6000 series
  • PDP (Personal Data Processor)
  • IBM-370/168
  • TDC-316

 

 Fourth Generation Computers                                                                                                     

The period of fourth generation was from 1971-1980. Computers of fourth generation used Very Large Scale Integrated (VLSI) circuits. VLSI circuits having about 5000 transistors and

 

other circuit elements with their associated circuits on a single chip made it possible to have microcomputers of fourth generation.

Fourth generation computers became more powerful, compact, reliable, and affordable. As a result, it gave rise to Personal Computer (PC) revolution. In this generation, time sharing, real time networks, distributed operating system were used. All the high-level languages like C, C++, DBASE etc., were used in this generation.

 

 
 
 

 

The main features of fourth generation are:

  • VLSI technology used
  • Very cheap
  • Portable and reliable
  • Use of PCs
  • Very small size
  • Pipeline processing
  • No AC required
  • Concept of internet was introduced
  • Great developments in the fields of networks
  • Computers became easily available

 

Some computers of this generation were:

  • DEC 10
 
  • STAR 1000
  • PDP 11
  • CRAY-1(Super Computer)
  • CRAY-X-MP(Super Computer)

 

 Fifth Generation Computers                                                                                                                                 

The period of fifth generation is 1980-till date. In the fifth generation, VLSI technology became ULSI (Ultra Large Scale Integration) technology, resulting in the production of microprocessor chips having ten million electronic components.

This generation is based on parallel processing hardware and AI (Artificial Intelligence) software. AI is an emerging branch in computer science, which interprets the means and method of making computers think like human beings. All the high-level languages like C and C++, Java, .Net etc., are used in this generation.

 

 
 
 

AI includes:

  • Robotics
  • Neural Networks
  • Game Playing
  • Development of expert systems to make decisions in real-life situations
  • Natural language understanding and generation

 

The main features of fifth generation are:

 
  • ULSI technology
  • Development of true artificial intelligence
  • Development of Natural language processing
  • Advancement in Parallel Processing
  • Advancement in Superconductor technology
  • More user-friendly interfaces with multimedia features
  • Availability of very powerful and compact computers at cheaper rates

 

Some computer types of this generation are:

  • Desktop
  • Laptop
  • NoteBook
  • UltraBook
  • ChromeBook
 

 

 

4.    Computer Fundamentals ─ Types

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Computers can be broadly classified by their speed and computing power.

 

Sr.

No.

Type

Specifications

1

PC (Personal Computer)

It is a single user computer system having moderately powerful microprocessor

2

Workstation

It is also a single user computer system, similar to personal computer however has a more powerful microprocessor

3

Mini Computer

It is a multi-user computer system, capable of supporting hundreds of users simultaneously.

 

4

 

Main Frame

It is a multi-user computer system, capable of supporting hundreds of users simultaneously. Software technology is different from minicomputer.

5

Supercomputer

It is an extremely fast computer, which can execute hundreds of millions of instructions per second.

 

PC (Personal Computer)

A PC can be defined as a small, relatively inexpensive computer designed for an individual user. PCs are based on the microprocessor technology that enables manufacturers to put an entire CPU on one chip. Businesses use personal

computers for word processing, accounting, desktop publishing, and for running spreadsheet and database management applications. At home, the most popular use for personal computers is playing games and surfing the Internet.

Although personal computers are designed as single-user systems, these systems are normally linked together to form a network. In terms of power, now-a-days high-end models of the Macintosh and PC offer the same computing power and graphics capability as low-end workstations by Sun Microsystems, Hewlett-Packard, and Dell.

Workstation

Workstation is a computer used for engineering applications (CAD/CAM), desktop publishing, software development, and other such types of applications which require a moderate amount of computing power and relatively high quality graphics capabilities.

Workstations generally come with a large, high-resolution graphics screen, large amount of RAM, inbuilt network support, and a graphical user

interface. Most workstations also have mass storage device such as a disk drive, but a special type of workstation, called diskless workstation, comes without a disk drive.

Common operating systems for workstations are UNIX and Windows NT. Like PC, workstations are also single-user computers like PC but are typically linked together to form a local-area network, although they can also be used as stand-alone systems.

 

Minicomputer

It is a midsize multi-processing system capable of supporting up to 250 users simultaneously.

 

 
 
 

 

Mainframe

Mainframe is very large in size and is an expensive computer capable of supporting hundreds or even thousands of users simultaneously. Mainframe executes many programs concurrently and supports many simultaneous execution of programs.

 

 

Supercomputer

Supercomputers are one of the fastest computers currently available. Supercomputers are very expensive and are employed for specialized applications that require immense amount of mathematical calculations (number crunching).

 

 
 
 

For example, weather forecasting, scientific simulations, (animated) graphics, fluid dynamic calculations, nuclear energy research, electronic design, and analysis of geological data (e.g. in petrochemical prospecting).

 

 

 

5.    Computer Fundamentals ─ Components

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All types of computers follow the same basic logical structure and perform the following five basic operations for converting raw input data into information useful to their users.

 

Sr. No.

Operation

Description

1

Take Input

The process of entering data and instructions into the computer system.

2

Store Data

Saving data and instructions so that they are available for processing as and when required.

3

Processing Data

Performing arithmetic, and logical operations on data in order to convert them into useful information.

4

Output Information

The process of producing useful information or results for the user, such as a printed report or visual display.

5

Control the workflow

Directs the manner and sequence in which all of the above operations are performed.

 

Input Unit

This unit contains devices with the help of which we enter data into the computer. This unit creates a link between the user and the computer. The input devices translate the information into a form understandable by the computer.

 

CPU (Central Processing Unit)

CPU is considered as the brain of the computer. CPU performs all types of data processing operations. It stores data, intermediate results, and instructions (program). It controls the operation of all parts of the computer.

CPU itself has the following three components:

  • ALU (Arithmetic Logic Unit)
  • Memory Unit
  • Control Unit

 

Output Unit

The output unit consists of devices with the help of which we get the information from the computer. This unit is a link between the computer and the users. Output devices translate the computer's output into a form understandable by the users.

 

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