What is Computer? [Components & History]

A computer is a complex programmatic machine that is capable of doing multiple arithmetics and logical operations very easily. The word “computer” is basically taken from the Latin word “computare” which means to calculate and originally the term “computer” was used to call people who were excellent in terms of performing calculations and mathematical operations by using simple calculative devices like the abacus and other mechanical calculators. 

Later the term was shifted to the machines that could perform these calculations and operations, computer is one of them.  

The computer takes the input data and processes it through a group of programs to ultimately produce a final product which is called the output. It consists of many good and usability-oriented features like it can store data, retrieve it and process it multiple times and ultimately reducing your hassle. 

Computers can easily be programmed to complete these kinds of processes in an automated manner and are greatly capable of performing a different set of steps that are involved during the process of input and output, these multi-operational processes are carried out by programs that are installed in the computer.   

A computer is nothing except a tin-can without the programs, programs only let the computer perform all its basic and complex functions with great ease. When we say a computer system it directly refers to the set of complete computers which includes components like hardware, OS (operating system), other external peripheral devices, all together constitute the computer system.  

When any command is given to a computer through external units like the keyboard (input), it directly processes that piece of command through the programs in it by simply doing some mathematical operations. A computer can carry out multiple numeric-based operations at a single point in time. 

The computers, that we see today are completely different than the ones that were present earlier, the current-gen computers are also called desktop computers or PCs (Personal Computer) which include components like a screen or display to show every single detail, a CPU (main computer), keyboard, mouse and speakers, etc. 

A computer is made to fulfill and execution of programs and affords a number of answers via included hardware and software program additives. It cooperates with the assistance provided through programs and represents them decimally via a sequence of binary digits.

It additionally has a reminiscence or additional memory that is called the RAM, it stores the data, applications, and end result of all input processes. The additives of a computer are inclusive of pieces of equipment that consist of wires, transistors, circuits, hard drives, which altogether are known as hardware. However, the programs, applications, and other firmware-related data are known as software programs. 

Basic Components of Computer

CPU (Microprocessor)

The CPU of a computer is responsible for handling all of its tasks and instructions that are given in the input through hardware and ultimately processing it further on the software.

The CPU operates by taking input from the direct software and run the OS (Operating System) and other applications. The data that is given from the active software is further processed to give output.


The memory of a computer does the work of transferring data between the CPU and main storage. A Computer has two basic types of memory the primary memory and secondary memory. 

The primary memory or main memory is also called RAM, which is a Volatile form of computer memory that works to hold the working and continued data and machinery codes of the computer system.

RAM allows the users to run and keep their data on applications temporarily, once the computer is shut down the data will ultimately get lost as it is stored in a temporary manner.

The secondary memory of the computer is a non-volatile form of memory storage that stores the permanent data for longer usage. Some examples of secondary memory include hard disks, USB flash drives, CDs, etc.  


The main printed circuit board for PCB in the computer’s cabinet that works to establish the connection between different components of the PC is basically a motherboard.

The motherboard acts as the central communicative body of the PC as it has all the essential connectivity ports and external peripherals that are required to improve storage as well as connectivity of the system.


The devices or computer units that are used for the purpose of giving the command and making communication with the computer system through input devices like keyboard, joystick or mouse, etc. 


The output devices are hardware devices like the monitor and scanner that turn the input command directly into output or human-readable forms, it can be text, audio, images, tactile, etc. 

History of Computer

  • The very first computer was launched on the 14th of Feb in 1946, it was called ENIAC, it was the first and one of its kind computer system that used to look like a computer in itself, it was big bulky and a bit unpractical as it could not be used as the computers that we see today.
  • The ENIAC was built during the time period of 1943 to 1946 and the main purpose of its creators was to rectify the problem of calculations that are being done by human computers (Humans only). 
  • They had a vision of sorting the problem of calculations and time consuming, and through their machine, they wanted to achieve calculations and mathematical operations to be done in a much lesser time and mistakes.
  • This computer (ENIAC) had Vaccum tubes in it, which used to be quite large in size. The ENIAC was only found in government authorities, big universities, business ventures, etc, as it was not possible to keep this computer in a small home as the size of those vacuum tubes used to be quite large. 
  • But, later on, as time passed new technologies came and brought many new remarkable changes in the appearance and performance of the computer which we can see today.