A computer is defined as an electronic device that operates under the control


of internally stored instructions that can accept input, process data (both mathematical processes and logical processes), produce output, and store the results.  Basically, a computer transforms data into information.


There are 4 General Operations of a Computer (based on this definition):

1)      Input

Data is input into the computer.  Data is the numbers, words, images, etc. that are given to the computer during the input process.  Data is input using Input Devices:  keyboard, mouse, joystick, touch screens, etc.


2)      Process

This is the manipulation of the data to create useful information.  Data is processed very quickly within the computer, within billionths of a second.  Once the raw facts are processed into a meaningful form it is called information.  Computer processing is accomplished through the CPU (Central Processing Unit).  The CPU interprets the instructions for the computer.  It performs all logical and arithmetical operations as well as causes all input and output to occur.  The CPU is contained on a Microprocessor chip.


3)      Output

Output devices convert digital signals from the computer into a recognizable output.  This is accomplished via the monitor or the printer.


4)      Storage

Auxiliary storage is used to permanently store information for future use.  This storage is outside the workings of the computer – these are often called Secondary Storage devices.  These include floppy drives, hard drives, CD Roms, DVD’s, etc.

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