Types of Computers
Computers have been classified in to two types, namely special purpose computers and general purpose computers, according to their use. One may also classify them as Analogue and Digital computers according to their basic engineering design. Modern computers are all digital computers.
A) General Purpose Computers:
General purpose computers are designed to meet the needs of many different applications like simulations solving mathematical equation, payroll personal dada base, word processing and many more similar applications. These computers are broadly categorized as micro computers, mini computers, mainframe computers and super computers.
1) Micro Computers:
Micro computers (Personal Computers) are designed for use by one person at a time. These are cheap in cost, easy to use and can be used even at homes. Though, single user system, they can be linked to other computer systems, hence they form a very important segment of the integrated information system.
2) Mini Computers:
A mini computer is usually designed to serve multiple users simultaneously and is used for large volume applications.
3) Main Frame Computers:
Main frame computers are used in applications like weather forecasting, space applications, banking etc. They support a large number of terminals for use by a variety of users simultaneously.
4) Super Computers:
Super computers are computers with extremely large storage capacity and very high possessing speeds which are at least ten times faster than other computers. These computers are used for large scale numerical problems in scientific and engineering applications, global weather forecasting, defence applications and geographical information systems.
With recent advantages in microelectronics, microcomputers have become very powerful with regard to speed, capacity of peripherals and mass storage devices.
B) Special Purpose:
Special purpose computers are designed and built solely to cater to the requirement of a particular task of application and either incorporated inside or connected to other devices or machines.
The most common example of special purpose computer is a washing machine. A fully automatic washing machine has a built-in computer. This receives instruction through few switches on the control panel and works accordingly. The sensors in the machine keep telling the computer about the weight of clothes, water level, shaking time etc. accordingly, the computer has to take a few decision and control the operation and switch-off when the task is complete.
Automatic teller machine (ATM) is another example of a special purpose computer.