Computers have revolutionised the human life at that extent that we cannot imagine our lives without computers and technology. The invention of the computer was not a one-time discovery. Computers have evolved so vastly in the journey of their lifetime from a simple calculating machine to the self-intelligent machine. Yet Charles Babbage is known for developing the self-calculating machine in 1822, hence he is known as the inventor of computers. You must have seen many images of big computers on the internet. Computers can be as huge as occupying the whole building or as small as the that can fit in your palm in the form of a smartphone. The type of computer is determined on the basis of the computing power, size and purpose.
Computers can be categorised on the basis of their size and purpose, yet computers have 4 basic types- supercomputer, Mainframe computer, Minicomputer, Microcomputer.
Types of Computer: Super Computers
Supercomputers are used to perform highly complex and intense calculations at very high speed. Theses type of computers are used to process a huge amount of raw data and create meaningful information with the help of high-speed calculations, algorithms and very high computing power. The CDC 6600 is considered as the first supercomputer which was introduced in 1964 by Seymour Cray, however, the idea of supercomputing was used prior to it in 1920 when IBM was using tabulators at Columbia University.
Supercomputers are used where a large amount of data is to be processed in very less amount of time such weather forecasting and Nuclear research. In this type of operations, the probability of delay and error should be very less. The precision and speech are the priorities. Supercomputers are very expensive as compared to the other types of computers and are most powerful in terms of computing power, input-output capabilities, computing speed, memory size and speed and the topological issues such as bandwidth and latency.
PARAM 8000 is India’s first supercomputer which was natively built in 1991 by Centre for Development of Advanced Computing.
Types of Computer: Mainframe Computers
Mainframe computers are those type of computers which were designed to distinguish between the supercomputers and small minicomputers. These types of computers are used by the large organizations such as governments, large corporations, banks, and research institutes to process the bulk data and create useful information very quickly. These types of computers are used by large organizations for applications such as census, transaction processing, consumer and market analysis, enterprise resource planning and so on. Mainframes are more secure than other types of computers.
These types of computers are defined by their three features- Reliability, Availability and Serviceability. These features make sure that mainframe computers should have the lowest or no downtime and they should be reliable enough that they can revive from the breakdowns as fast as possible because the downtime of the system can cause catastrophic effects for the organizations. IBM is one of the major manufacturers of this type of computers.
Types of Computer: Minicomputers
Minicomputers are smaller computers than mainframes and are used by the small businesses and firms. These types of computers are also called as Midrange Computers. Minicomputers possess many of the features of the Mainframe computers but are of small size. The terms minicomputer and servers are used interchangeably now. Minicomputers were first developed by IBM Corporations to meet the requirements of small scale businesses. These types of computers support multiprocessing and can handle huge workloads.
Types of Computer: Microcomputers
Microcomputers are small computers which use Microprocessors as their Central Processing Unit. Microcomputers consist of microprocessor, memory and basic input/output circuitry mounted on a single printed circuit unit. Microcomputers are inexpensive than other types of computers. Personal computers(PC), laptops, PDAs, tablet PCs, smartphones these types of devices belong to this category. Microcomputers are widely used all around the world and are very popular. Microcomputers serve purposes like entertainment, work purpose, basic computing, internet connectivity. Dell, Lenovo, Toshiba, Sony are few of the leading microcomputer manufacturers around the world.
The type of computer is determined based on the computing power, size and purpose. If you have any question about this, please let us know in the comment section below.