What Is A Computer? A Post About Its History, Types, & Uses!

If I have to compile a list of the greatest inventions of all time, I would place Computers in the list of top 5. Computers are extremely fast given the fact that they can perform complex calculations in a matter of nanoseconds.

what is a computer
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What humans can take months or years to do Computers can do in almost no time. They are like the best of all types of machines that you see around you.

In the last five decades, they have transformed our lives to the extent that it all seems to be like a dream. We are living in an age that simply was unknown to us at least a few decades ago. While Computers have clearly invaded our lives they have given us the chance to connect with the world like never before.

In this post, I am going to take you to the world of Computers where you would be able to better understand this thing and get the answers to some of the questions that are frequently asked on the internet. I am not in the mood to be talking about the crappy definitions associated with Computers. Rather, I would make it a bit understandable for my audience. After all, it’s all about clearing the concepts. So, don’t stress out, take a chill pill and let’s start it with mister Bill!

What Is A Computer?

A Computer is an electronic machine that is capable of storing, retrieving, and processing information to perform complex calculations. Apart from performing calculations, a Computer can also perform operations based on the information stored and processed by it.

As a result-oriented machine, a Computer is smart enough to produce a result (output) based on the Information (Input) provided to it. This means the Computer receives the Input, process it with the help of a set of instructions such as software and hardware, and produces the output. After generating the output, the Computer stores the input and retrieves it whenever required.

It means that it registers the data entry and saves it permanently to use later on. Unlike humans with memory issues, Computers possess strong memory skills that make them what they are! The Super Productive Machines!

History Of Computers

I swear you need to have a running brain to consume the history of Computers! Ask me why? Well, because the history is brief and involves tons of inventions of early Computers that looked too different than what we have today.

As I am penning the paragraph, my mind has already started flooding with the events that contributed to the amazing history of Computers. It is just that humanity has achieved so much in the last hundred years in the field of Computers.

Believe it if you can but the history of Computing devices is older than you may have thought. Contrary to what most people believe that Computers came into existence during or after World War 2, they appeared on the scene quite long before that. The history of Computers takes us to the 19th century when the need for a device to perform mathematical calculations was higher than ever before.

The entire 19th century is filled with events that marked the invention of some kind of Computer. From Charles Babbage’s invention of a steam-powered Computer to Ada Lovelace’s writing the first-ever program for a Computer, there is so much that happened in the 19th century alone. At the end of the 19th century, the legendary Punch Cards were introduced that transformed computing for the next few decades.

Fast forward to the 1930s, humans were already capable of making huge advances in the field of Computers. At the end of the 1930s, George Stibitz working as a scientist for Bell Laboratories invented a computing system for mathematical calculation using Boolean Logic.

When World War 2 hit the world, it triggered a race between and among governments to build better Computers for defenses and other purposes. As a result, a few Computing devices were invented that proved to be efficient and productive during the course of World War 2.

For example, a Computer called The British Bombe was invented by British scientists to decrypt the German military’s messages. Another such example is Bell Labs Model II, a computing system, which was invented for the U.S Army.

The history of modern Computers starts with the invention of the ENIAC which is credited with being the first-ever general-purpose computer. Unveiled in 1946, ENIAC was thousands of times faster than any other type of Computer. It was so huge in size that it held a space of more than a thousand square feet. Later on, a few more computing systems were invented that marked the beginning of the Computer era.

Built by Presper Eckert and John Mauchly in 1951, the UNIVAC 1 was introduced in the United States as the first-ever commercial computing system. Weighed more than 15 tons, UNIVAC relied on thousands of vacuum tubes to function. Both ENIAC and UNIVAC are considered the 1st Generation of Computers.

After the invention of the Computer Chip at the hands of Jack Kirby and Robert Noyce in 1958, more and more minds worked together to shorten the size of Computers and make them commercially available. Only a decade later in 1969, Bell Labs employees built the UNIX operating system that would be used in computing systems for decades.

In the mid-1970s, Personal Computers or PCs started to appear in the commercial market. These earliest PCs were basically introduced by IBM and some other companies. Only a couple of years later, Apple 1 was released by Apple as one of the earliest commercial Computers.

A year later, Apple introduced the Apple 2 powered by colored graphics which was something out of the world. Following the success of Apple and IBM Computers, Microsoft introduced Windows in the year 1985 which would later become the most-used operating system in Computers.

With the passage of time, Intel CPUs became the must-have thing in general-purpose Computers with IBM relying on them more than other companies. Based on Pentium models, Intel CPUs got the upgrades such as Pentium 2 and Pentium 3 in the next few years which eventually enhanced the computing experience.

In the early 2000s Computing experience improved significantly with the release of Intel’s Pentium 4 CPU. And In 2008, Pentium 4 CPUs were discontinued only to allow the Dual Core CPUs to take their spot. It’s 2022, and AMD has released its latest 7000 Series processor that perform so good that we couldn’t have thought about it back in the day.

Types Of Computers

Based on their size, capabilities, and properties, Computers are classified into five types that have been listed in the following table with easy-to-understand descriptions.

SupercomputersOwned by governments, they are usually too big in size and are used in the fields of science, defense, and technology to perform sophisticated operations
Mainframe ComputersOften the size of refrigerators, they are used to deliver extremely quick results in the sectors of health care, research, and businesses
MinicomputersAs the name suggests, this type of Computers is small in size. Minicomputers act as Servers in institutions and are the primary source of information for other Computers
Personal Computers (PC)Built for personal use such as watching movies, editing office files, or playing videogames, a PC has two types namely Desktop computers and laptops
WorkstationThis type of Computer is designed for businesses to get heavy tasks done way quicker than ordinary PCs

Uses Of Computers

There are tons of uses of Computers that one can talk about. For your convenience, the uses of Computers are divided into the following categories. You can go through each subheading to better understand the specific use of Computers.


Starting from the personal aspect, a Computer can be used as a source of entertainment to play video games, watch favorite movies and listen to music. Not only that but a Computer can also be used to use internet platforms like social media where you can make new friends and stay connected with your loved ones. As compared to mobile phones, a computer is probably the best for video chats considering it offers wider angles and better picture quality.


Whether you are a workaholic boss or an employee who always gets homework to do, a Computer can be an important tool for you to get your remaining work done. Modern Computers can run tons of business-related applications and programs. You can make, edit and send the files instantly to anyone you want. There are specific applications and software for businesses to expand their footprint and allow them to improve their services to their customers.


Computers are not just serving the individuals personally but they are also providing notable support to the healthcare sector. The modern healthcare sector relies heavily on Computers for the treatment of patients, manufacturing of medicines, and advancements in medical research. In the healthcare sector alone, Computers are responsible for controlling the medical equipment that is crucially important to save the lives of patients.

Government Institutions

Government institutions rely on Computers to the extent that it is hard for them to function without the latter. Computers are extensively used in government institutions for the sake of defense and security. Modern supercomputers used by governments assist them in developing sophisticated weapons and defense systems for the protection of the country against both internal and external threats. This includes mega naval ships, fighter jets, long-range missiles, and nuclear weapons.


From analyzing the environmental changes to assisting humans in research, Computers are widely used in the field of science. Scientists use computers to solve the mysteries surrounding humanity and to provide explanations for unexplained phenomena. The scientific community makes use of Computers to develop tools that can be beneficial for the existence of the human race.


The use of Computers has expanded to multiple sectors including the banking sector. The Computers provide backbone support to the banking system and allow the banks to maintain the extensive data of their customers. Additionally, Computers do also provide money transfer facilities to bank customers. Without Computers, money transfer would be slow and non-reliable.

Besides all that has been covered above, there are millions of uses of computers that can’t be covered in an introductory post like this. Computers are used in many other sectors such as engineering, robotics, and the automotive industry. In short, Computers are used in almost every other sector and are somehow impacting our lives.

Frequently Asked Questions

Wrap Up

Getting straight to the point, it is absolutely hard to get rid of Computers or get away from their influence. I mean, modern society has already welcomed the influence of Computers. And there are infinite numbers of good things that have come with Computers.

Special thanks to Computers, our miserably hard lives have become better than ever. These tireless machines serve us in so many ways that it’s almost impossible to talk about each and every one of them. Isn’t it crazy that what once was invented to perform super quick mathematical calculations has now become a too important part of our lives?

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Bilal Khan
Bilal Khan

Bilal might look like a Bearded Caucasian right out of a Viking movie but trust me he's a native Pakistani. He has a long list of hobbies among which staying updated on the Latest Technology and Hardware happens to be on the top. If you are looking for detailed hardware explanations through no tricky terminologies, follow him to read Tech Content curated perfectly for the human brain.

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