What is a computer? What are the functions, language and types of computer?

If you ask someone about the definition of computer, he will say that 'a computer is an electronic machine' and then he can say that it inputs data, processes it and then provides us with the output. So, what does this input, process and output mean? If you don't know about these, don't worry. I will tell you in this post.

What is Computer?

A computer can be defined as an electronic machine that stores input data and processes it. A data can be a letter, a word, a number or any information. Everything you see on a computer screen is also data. Notes written on the paper of a notebook are also data.

A desktop computer looks like what you can see in the image below

desktop computer and laptop

As you can see in the image, the parts of a desktop computer are a monitor, a keyboard, a mouse, and a CPU.

You use a keyboard to type and enter letters, numbers, symbols into a computer. With the keyboard, you also instruct the computer to perform certain tasks.

A mouse is also called a pointing device and you use it to give instructions to the computer. Using a mouse, you can select photos, videos, text, or any type of file that you can view on a computer screen. You can also use mouse for drawing using drawing tools available on software like Photoshop, Paint.

A monitor looks like a television. Whatever you type using the keyboard, you can see it on the screen of the monitor. If you play video on a computer, you need a monitor to watch it. A monitor shows you the output and hence it is called an output device.


A laptop is also a computer and because of its small size, you can easily carry it from one place to another. When you close the lid of the laptop, it looks like a small briefcase.

When the lid of a laptop is open, you can see that the laptop parts include a monitor and a keyboard. Instead of a mouse, a laptop has a touchpad, also known as a trackpad, which looks like a small round box. You can use your fingers to touch the touchpad and use it as a pointing device. And, you can't see the CPU box here; Laptops have a built-in CPU on top of which the keyboard is attached. So, with a laptop, you don't need to carry the CPU box, keyboard and mouse separately.


A smartphone is also a computer. You may ask me how? When you look at a modern smartphone, it has a touchscreen that is similar to the monitor in a desktop computer or laptop. The touchscreen also has touchpad functionality to serve as a pointing device. When you open WhatsApp or message box, you will see a keyboard which you can use for typing. Like laptops, our smartphones also have a built-in CPU.

A smartphone today is capable of performing almost those functions that an ordinary person needs in his daily life. You can upload your resume, application letter, watch videos online, edit photos, send emails, use the Internet to search for information on Google, and many more.

How does a computer run?

A computer needs electronic power which can be UPS, electric power or just battery. A laptop and smartphone come with a battery already attached to them. After power, a computer hardware requires software to run, such software is called system software (eg operating system). If you don't know what is an operating system then you can take the example of Android. Android is a popular operating system that runs on smartphones.

Therefore, a computer requires power, hardware, and software to start up and function properly.


The full form of UPS is Uninterrupted Power Supply and it is called UPS in short. UPS is a type of battery which is used to provide power backup to the computer.

What is the full form of Computer?

The full form of computer is 'Commonly Operated Machine Particularly Used for Training Education and Research'. No one knows when this full form of computer was made and who made it. But if someone knows the full form of computer, then he will tell the same. Computer is an English word and, in the Oxford dictionary, it means a machine used for calculations.

Function of a Computer

A computer has four main functions: input, process, store, and output. First of all, I want you to take a look at the picture below.

Basic function of Computer

Input - Any data we send to the computer through an input device is called input. If you type your name using the keyboard, your name is data to the computer.

Process - When a computer performs any arithmetic or logical operation on data, it is called processing. For example: You type 2 and 3 and press the + button, the computer will add 2 and 3. So, when the computer is adding 2 and 3, it is processing by adding 2 and 3.

Output - Any data or information that the computer provides to you through an output device is called output. When the computer adds the numbers 2 and 3, it shows you 5 on the screen. Result 5 is the output data. Also, when you see 2 and 3 on a computer screen, they are outputs.

Store - If you see in the diagram above, a computer does the work of storing twice - after input and before output. When you input the number 2, the computer stores the number 2 in its memory. After 2, when you enter the number 3, it stores the number 3 in its memory. Now, it has both the numbers in its memory. If you press the + button, it adds the number 2 and 3 and stores the result number 5 in its memory and then shows the number 5 on the screen.

Language of a Computer

Just like we humans use languages like English, Hindi, Spanish etc. to communicate with each other, similarly computers also use a language. The language of computer is called machine language. Machine language is in the form of 0's and 1's and hence it is also known as binary language. Now, you can say that you type the letters or numbers given on the keyboard. You don't type 0 and 1. You are right that we type the characters given on the keyboard.

Here, I would like you to understand that a computer is an electronic device and like every electronic machine, every computer part consists of electronic chips. Therefore, a computer actually senses electric current. And, 0 and 1 are used to identify whether we have pressed the OFF switch or ON switch on the computer chip. Now, you understand that there are switches on electronic chips. If a switch is on, the computer interprets it as a 1 and when the switch is off, it interprets it as a 0.

In order for humans to understand and work more easily, the technology on computer language has been developed so much that now we use English words and sentences to instruct the computer.

Types of Computer

Computers can be categorized in various ways - according to size, according to processor. As most of us never look for the processor while buying a computer, I will discuss computers according to their size.

Micro Computer

Microcomputers are a type of computers that we use in our home, office and also you see these computers at ticket counters, retail outlets and everywhere you go. They are smaller in size and cheaper than other types of computers. People can easily buy a microcomputer for their personal and everyday use. Today's desktop computers, laptops that we use are a type of microcomputer and are also called as personal computers.

Mini Computer

Minicomputers were slightly larger in size than microcomputers, and you won't see them in use anywhere today. They are also called mid-sized computers.

Mainframe Computer

A mainframe computer has more data storage capacity than a microcomputer and is so large in size that it requires a large space like a room for its installation. Such computers are generally used by banks, universities, small or large sized businesses. Mainframe computers are mostly used as computer servers to store and manage large amounts of data. Several microcomputers are connected to a mainframe computer through a computer network.

Super Computer

Supercomputers are said to be the fastest computers in the world and they usually take up the space of a large room and can even take up the space of an entire building. Such computers use the largest amount of data storage capacity and multiple high-end processors for the fastest and most accurate computing. Supercomputers are widely used for scientific and research purpose and also used by large organizations like Facebook which store huge amount of data.


What is the full name of computer?

The full form of computer is Commonly Operated Machine Especially Used for Training Education and Research.

Which is the first computer made in India?

Tata Institute of Fundamental Research Automatic Calculator

What is the name of India's first super computer?

PARAM 8000


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