A computer is not an acronym and is sometimes abbreviated as comp or 'puter. The term "computer" was originally given to humans who performed numerical calculations using mechanical calculators such as the abacus and slide rule. The term was later given to a mechanical device as they began replacing the human computers. Today's computers are electronic devices that accept data (input), process that data, produces output, and then store (storage) the results.
The first computer was called the ENIAC, which was built during World War II (1943-1946). These early computers used vacuum tubes and were very large (sometimes room size) and only found in businesses, Universities, or governments. Later, computers began utilizing transistors as well as smaller and cheaper parts that allowed the common person to own their own computer. This history of computers and related topics can be found on our history page.
Today, computers help make jobs that used to be complicated much simpler. For example, a user can write letters in a word processor and edit any portion of the letter anytime, spell check the letter, and move text from another document into the letter, etc. This is just one of the millions of different things a computer is capable of doing.
What components make a computer?
Today's computers are often comprised with some or all of the below components (hardware). As technology advances, older technologies such as the floppy disk drive and Zip drive (both shown below) are no longer required or included with computers.
Example of front of computer case
Case or Chassis
Optical drive: Blu-ray, CD-ROM, CD-R, CD-RW, or DVD
Floppy disk drive
Monitor, LCD, or other display device
Inside of the computer
What does the inside of a computer look like?
A diagram of the back of a personal computer and a brief...
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