There are three types of computer
- Analog computer
- Digital computer
- Hybrid computer
Analog computers use electronic or mechanical phenomena to model the problem being solved by using one kind of physical quantity to represent another. The analog computer excels in solving dynamic problems and simulating complex physical systems.
It has no way of man-machine interaction, recording, and graphic display. High-speed computing elements used to simulate mathematical functions, physical systems, and dynamic processes, are arranged in as much the same pattern as the physical system they represent.
Early special-purpose analog computers were the slide rule, the curvimeter and planimeter, and the harmonic analyzer. In world war II, analog computing mechanisms were of great importance for gunfire control on warships. General-purpose analog computers were first built in the 1930s.
Digital computer process data in numerical form using digital circuits. The digital perform arithmetic and logic operation with discrete values. Digital computers are good at solving algebraic equations and even at manipulating numbers. It is unbeatable for high-speed precision in arithmetic operations, data storage, and de-documentation.
It can perform only one calculation at a time. The results can be obtained in a variety of forms, such as printed tables, magnetic tape, and familiar punched cards. While properly used in high-accuracy,high-volume numerical calculations, digital computers are extremely good.
In the early 1940s, Aiken built the first general-purpose digital computer called Markm-1. With the invention of digital computers, a new age of computing started.
Today digital computers are widely being used in business, educational institutes, hospitals, etc. for various purposes. Examples of digital computers are IBM PC, Apple’s Macintosh computers, etc.
Hybrid computers are a combination of analog and digital computers. Hybrid computers use analog-to-digital conversion and digital-to-analog conversion and may input or output either analog or digital data. Dynamic problems that once took too long or were difficult to handle can be solved in a reasonable period of time. These computers can produce highly accurate and precise results. These types of computers are used in robotics, medical labs, etc.
Classification of Computers
Generally, computers are classified as:
- According to purpose
- According to the type of data handling.
- According to capacity
Classification of computers according to the purpose
According to the purpose, computers are classified into two following types.
General purpose computer
- Mechanically these computers are strong but are normally weak in speed and efficiency.
- These computers are designed to handle a variety of different problems and different needs.
- They can be used for varied applications such as payroll, accounts, inventory control, budgeting, and sales analysis.
Spherical purpose computer
- They are high in speed and efficiency as compared to general-purpose computers.
- These computers are designed to handle a specific problem or to perform a specific task.
- These computers are used for collecting highway tolls, satellite tracking, air traffic control, and industrial process control.