A computer is a machine or device that performs processes, calculations and operations based on instructions provided by a software or hardware program. It is designed to execute applications and provides a variety of solutions by combining integrated hardware and software components.
A computer is made up of multiple parts and components that facilitate user functionality.
All general-purpose computers require the following hardware components:
- Memory: enables a computer to store, at least temporarily, data and programs.
- Mass storage device: allows a computer to permanently retain large amounts of data. Common mass storage devices include solid state drives (SSDs) or disk drives and tape drives.
- Input device: usually a keyboard and mouse, the input device is the conduit through which data and instructions enter a computer.
- Output device: a display screen, printer, or other device that lets you see what the computer has accomplished.
- Central processing unit (CPU): the heart of the computer, this is the component that actually executes instructions.
In addition to these components, many others make it possible for the basic components to work together efficiently. For example, every computer requires a bus that transmits data from one part of the computer to another.
A computer works with software programs that are sent to its underlying hardware architecture for reading, interpretation and execution. Computers are classified according to computing power, capacity, size, mobility and other factors, as personal computers (PC), desktop computers, laptop computers, minicomputers, handheld computers and devices, mainframes or supercomputers.