Classification of Computers By Size


A supercomputer is a type of computer that is designed to solve complex computational problems at a much higher speed and performance level than traditional computers. It is built with a high-performance architecture consisting of multiple processors, large amounts of memory, and specialized hardware components.

Supercomputers are used for tasks that require immense computational power, such as scientific simulations, weather forecasting, nuclear research, molecular modeling, and analyzing vast amounts of data. They excel at handling large-scale calculations and data processing that would be impractical or impossible for regular computers.

These machines often employ parallel processing, where multiple processors work simultaneously on different parts of a problem to achieve faster results. They typically have extensive memory capacity and high-speed interconnects to facilitate rapid data transfer between processors.

Supercomputers come in various forms, including clusters of individual computers connected together, custom-built architectures, and specialized machines developed by government agencies, research institutions, and large corporations. They can occupy substantial space and require substantial cooling and power infrastructure to operate efficiently.

As technology advances, the performance of supercomputers continues to improve, enabling scientists and researchers to tackle increasingly complex problems and make significant advancements in various fields.


1. Summit: Located at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the United States, Summit is currently one of the most powerful supercomputers in the world. It is capable of performing over 200 quadrillion calculations per second (200 petaflops) and is primarily used for scientific research in fields such as energy, materials science, and climate modeling.

2. Fugaku: Developed by RIKEN and Fujitsu, Fugaku is a supercomputer located in Japan. It became the world’s fastest supercomputer in 2020, with a peak performance of over 442 quadrillion calculations per second (442 petaflops). Fugaku is employed for various applications, including drug discovery, weather forecasting, and disaster prevention.

3. Tianhe-2: Also known as Milky Way 2, Tianhe-2 was developed by China’s National University of Defense Technology. It held the title of the world’s fastest supercomputer from 2013 to 2020. With a peak performance of over 33 quadrillion calculations per second (33 petaflops), Tianhe-2 has been used for scientific research, climate modeling, and simulating physical processes.

4. Piz Daint: Operated by the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre (CSCS), Piz Daint is located in Switzerland. It combines traditional processors with specialized graphics processing units (GPUs) to achieve high-performance computing. Piz Daint has been utilized for a wide range of scientific simulations, including climate modeling, computational fluid dynamics, and astrophysics.

5. Stampede2: Located at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) in the United States, Stampede2 is a supercomputer designed to support diverse scientific and engineering research. It offers advanced computing capabilities for areas such as computational chemistry, genomics, and data analysis. Stampede2 features a peak performance of over 18 quadrillion calculations per second (18 petaflops).

These are just a few examples, and there are numerous other supercomputers worldwide, each with its unique capabilities and areas of application. Supercomputing technology continues to advance rapidly, with new systems being developed regularly.


Mainframe computers are large, powerful, and high-performance computers designed to handle extensive computational workloads and support a large number of users simultaneously. They are typically used by organizations that require robust computing infrastructure for critical applications and data processing.

Mainframes are known for their reliability, scalability, and security features. They are built with redundant components and fault-tolerant architecture to ensure high availability and minimize downtime. Mainframes can handle massive amounts of data processing and are capable of executing millions of instructions per second.

These computers are often used for tasks such as transaction processing, database management, enterprise resource planning (ERP), financial transactions, and large-scale batch processing. They are commonly employed in industries like banking, insurance, government, healthcare, and telecommunications, where there is a need for handling vast amounts of data and ensuring secure and reliable operations.

Mainframe computers have unique characteristics, including:

1. Large-scale processing power: Mainframes are designed to process huge volumes of data and handle complex computations. They have high-performance processors, large memory capacities, and specialized input/output subsystems to efficiently process and manage data.

2. Virtualization and partitioning: Mainframes have the capability to partition their resources into multiple logical systems, allowing different applications to run independently. This feature enables efficient utilization of hardware resources and provides isolation between applications.

3. High reliability and availability: Mainframes are built with redundant components and advanced error detection and recovery mechanisms. They have extensive built-in fault tolerance features to ensure continuous operations and minimize the impact of hardware failures.

4. Security features: Mainframes have robust security mechanisms to protect sensitive data and ensure data integrity. They provide encryption, access control, and auditing capabilities to safeguard critical information.

5. Centralized management: Mainframes typically have centralized management tools and software for system administration, resource allocation, and monitoring. They provide a comprehensive set of utilities and interfaces for managing the entire system environment.

While mainframes may not be as prevalent as they were in the past, they continue to play a vital role in handling mission-critical applications and data processing for organizations that require high reliability, scalability, and security.


1. IBM zSeries/Mainframe Systems: IBM has been a leader in mainframe technology for several decades. Their zSeries/mainframe systems, such as IBM z14 and IBM z15, are widely used in industries such as banking, insurance, government, and healthcare. These mainframes provide high availability, scalability, and security features, along with advanced virtualization and partitioning capabilities.

2. Unisys ClearPath: Unisys offers a range of ClearPath mainframe systems, including the ClearPath MCP (Master Control Program) and ClearPath Dorado. These mainframes are known for their reliability, security, and compatibility with legacy applications. They are utilized in various sectors, including financial services, transportation, and government.

3. Fujitsu BS2000: Fujitsu’s BS2000 series mainframes provide high-performance computing capabilities for critical business applications. These mainframes offer scalability, fault tolerance, and advanced virtualization features. Fujitsu mainframes are commonly used in industries such as banking, healthcare, and manufacturing.

4. Hitachi VOS3: Hitachi’s VOS3 series mainframes are designed for large-scale transaction processing and database management. These mainframes are known for their high reliability, scalability, and robust security features. They are used in industries like finance, telecommunications, and public sector organizations.

5. NEC ACOS Series: NEC’s ACOS (Advanced Computing System) mainframes are widely used in Japan for various applications, including banking, transportation, and government. These mainframes offer high-performance computing capabilities, extensive fault tolerance, and advanced system management features.

It’s worth noting that mainframe technologies and models are continually evolving, and different organizations may have customized mainframe systems tailored to their specific requirements. The examples provided above represent some prominent mainframe computer offerings from well-established vendors in the industry.


Mini computers, also known as midrange computers, are a class of computers that fall between mainframe computers and microcomputers (personal computers) in terms of size, processing power, and capabilities. They emerged in the 1960s and 1970s as a more affordable alternative to mainframes, offering a balance between performance and cost.

Characteristics of mini-computers

1. Size and footprint: Mini computers are smaller than mainframes but larger than microcomputers. They were typically housed in multiple cabinets or racks and required dedicated space within a data center or computer room.

2. Processing power: Mini computers offer moderate to high processing power compared to microcomputers. They are capable of handling complex tasks and supporting multiple users simultaneously.

3. Multi-user capabilities: Mini computers are designed to support multiple users concurrently. They can run multiple applications and provide time-sharing capabilities, allowing several users to access and use the system simultaneously.

4. Cost-effectiveness: Mini computers were developed to provide a more affordable option for organizations that required significant computing power but had budget limitations. They offered a lower price point compared to mainframes while still delivering substantial processing capabilities.

5. Operating systems: Mini computers typically ran specialized operating systems designed for multi-user environments. These operating systems provided features such as task scheduling, user management, and resource allocation to support efficient utilization of the system.

6. Application range: Mini computers found applications in various sectors, including small to medium-sized businesses, educational institutions, research laboratories, and engineering organizations. They were used for tasks such as scientific calculations, data processing, business applications, and local area network (LAN) management.

With the advancements in microcomputer technology and the availability of high-performance desktop and server systems, the distinction between minicomputers and microcomputers has become less significant. Today, the term “minicomputer” is less commonly used, and the capabilities once associated with mini-computers are often found in standard server systems or cloud-based solutions.


1. DEC PDP-11: The PDP-11, developed by Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) in the 1970s, was a popular series of mini computers. It offered a range of models with varying performance levels and was widely used in academic institutions, research laboratories, and small businesses.

2. IBM System/36: Introduced by IBM in 1983, the System/36 was a midrange computer system targeted at small and medium-sized businesses. It offered a comprehensive suite of integrated software and supported a wide range of business applications.

3. Hewlett-Packard (HP) HP 3000: The HP 3000 series, launched in the 1970s, was a family of mini computers designed for business computing. It provided reliable performance and supported various applications, including database management, manufacturing, and accounting.

4. Data General Nova: The Data General Nova series, introduced in the late 1960s, was a line of mini computers known for their compact size and affordability. They were used in diverse fields such as scientific research, industrial control, and military applications.

5. Wang Laboratories VS System: Wang Laboratories produced a range of mini computers known as the VS System, which gained popularity in the 1980s. These systems were utilized in business environments for tasks such as word processing, data management, and accounting.

It’s important to note that the term “minicomputer” is not as commonly used today, as the computing landscape has evolved significantly since the emergence of these systems. The capabilities of minicomputers are now often found in modern desktop computers, servers, and cloud-based solutions.


Microcomputers, also known as personal computers (PCs), are a type of computer designed for individual use. They are compact, affordable, and intended to be used by a single person at a time. Microcomputers gained popularity in the 1980s with the introduction of commercially available personal computers.

Characteristics of microcomputers

1. Size and portability: Microcomputers are small in size and can easily fit on a desk or be carried around. They are designed to be portable and convenient for personal use.

2. Affordability: Microcomputers are typically more affordable than mainframes or minicomputers. They are mass-produced, allowing for cost-effective manufacturing and widespread availability.

3. Individual use: Microcomputers are designed for individual users to perform a wide range of tasks, such as word processing, web browsing, multimedia playback, gaming, and personal productivity. They can be used at home, in offices, schools, and various other settings.

4. Processor architecture: Microcomputers are based on microprocessor technology, with a single central processing unit (CPU) integrated onto a single chip. The most common architecture for microcomputers is the x86 architecture, which is widely used in PCs.

5. Operating systems: Microcomputers can run various operating systems, such as Microsoft Windows, macOS, and Linux. These operating systems provide a user-friendly interface, manage hardware resources, and enable users to run applications and perform tasks.

6. Expansion capabilities: Microcomputers often have expansion slots and ports that allow users to connect peripherals such as printers, scanners, external storage devices, and networking equipment. This flexibility enables users to customize and extend the functionality of their microcomputers.

7. Internet connectivity: Microcomputers are designed to connect to the internet, allowing users to access online services, browse the web, send emails, and participate in online communication and collaboration.

Microcomputers have become an integral part of modern life, with a wide range of desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones falling under this category. They are used for personal, educational, and business purposes, offering individuals the ability to perform various tasks and access information quickly and efficiently.


There are numerous examples of microcomputers, ranging from desktop computers to laptops, tablets, and smartphones. Here are some well-known examples:

1. Desktop Computers:
– Apple iMac: Apple’s all-in-one desktop computer featuring a sleek design, powerful hardware, and macOS operating system.
– Dell XPS Tower: A popular desktop computer from Dell known for its performance, customization options, and reliability.
– HP Pavilion: HP’s consumer desktop computer series offering a balance of affordability and performance.

2. Laptops/Notebooks:
– MacBook Pro: Apple’s high-performance laptop featuring a slim design, macOS operating system, and powerful hardware configurations.
– Dell XPS 13: A highly regarded Windows laptop known for its compact size, premium build quality, and excellent display.
– Lenovo ThinkPad: A renowned laptop series known for its durability, comfortable keyboard, and business-oriented features.

3. Tablets:
– Apple iPad: Apple’s popular tablet line features a touchscreen interface, a wide range of apps, and seamless integration with other Apple devices.
– Samsung Galaxy Tab: Samsung’s line of Android-based tablets offering various screen sizes, powerful hardware, and extensive multimedia capabilities.
– Microsoft Surface Pro: A hybrid tablet/laptop device that runs Windows and provides a detachable keyboard for enhanced productivity.

4. Smartphones:
– iPhone: Apple’s flagship smartphone line is known for its integration with iOS, high-quality cameras, and extensive app ecosystem.
– Samsung Galaxy: Samsung’s range of Android-based smartphones offers different models catering to various price points and feature sets.
– Google Pixel: Google’s smartphone line is known for its pure Android experience, exceptional camera performance, and regular software updates.

These examples represent a fraction of the microcomputers available in the market, and there are many other brands and models offering a wide range of features and specifications to cater to different user needs and preferences.


Microcomputers, also known as personal computers (PCs), are widely used for several reasons:

1. Affordability: Microcomputers are relatively affordable compared to mainframes and minicomputers. They are mass-produced, allowing for cost-effective manufacturing and widespread availability. This affordability makes them accessible to individuals, small businesses, and educational institutions.

2. Versatility: Microcomputers offer a high degree of versatility, allowing users to perform a wide range of tasks. They can be used for word processing, web browsing, multimedia playback, gaming, personal productivity, programming, and more. Their flexible nature makes them suitable for various applications and user requirements.

3. Ease of Use: Microcomputers are designed to be user-friendly, with intuitive graphical user interfaces (GUIs) and operating systems that are easy to navigate. They have become increasingly user-friendly over time, making them accessible to individuals with varying levels of technical expertise.

4. Accessibility to Information: Microcomputers provide access to vast amounts of information through the internet. Users can search for information, access online resources, communicate with others, and participate in online communities. This accessibility to information has transformed how we learn, work, and connect with others.

5. Productivity Tools: Microcomputers come equipped with a variety of software applications and productivity tools. They offer word processing software, spreadsheets, presentation software, project management tools, and more, enabling users to be productive in their personal and professional lives.

6. Connectivity and Communication: Microcomputers provide extensive connectivity options, including wired and wireless networking capabilities. This allows users to connect to the internet, share files and resources, and communicate with others through email, instant messaging, video conferencing, and social media.

7. Customization and Expansion: Microcomputers offer the ability to customize and expand their capabilities. Users can add peripherals such as printers, scanners, external storage devices, and additional displays to suit their needs. They can also upgrade hardware components like memory and storage to enhance performance.

8. Entertainment and Multimedia: Microcomputers provide a platform for entertainment and multimedia consumption. Users can enjoy streaming services, play games, watch movies, listen to music, edit photos and videos, and engage in various multimedia activities.

9. Development and Innovation: Microcomputers have fostered a culture of software and application development. They provide a platform for developers to create and distribute software, leading to a vast ecosystem of applications catering to different needs and interests.

The combination of affordability, versatility, ease of use, and connectivity has made microcomputers an essential part of modern life, impacting various aspects of work, education, entertainment, and communication.

Read also:

Classification of Computer By Types

History of Computers

Generations of Computers

History of Computing

Data Processing: Meaning, Properties, Input, Processing & Output

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