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    The Importance of the Computer as a Tool for Data Processing

    The computer is a very unique electronic device and has certain features and characteristics that distinguish it from other machines. These include:

    1. Speed: Computers are very fast; they can perform tens of millions of operations per second. This is necessary for predicting weather forecasts, performing scientific research and even producing thousands of bills for utility companies.
    2. Accuracy: Computers are very accurate. Errors only occur if there is an error in hardware, software or data. When errors occur it is usually because of some human error, since computers can only do what they are programmed to do.
    3. Storing large amounts of information in a small space: There are many storage media that can be used to store large volumes of data and information. For example, a single CD-ROM disk can save the equivalent of a shelf of books in the library.
    4. Working continuously: Computers can work continuously for long periods without much maintenance.
    5. Quality: The type of output produced by the computer is far better than other electronic machines. Document is best prepared by the use of the computers.
    6. Control and consistency: The computer has automatic control and can operate for a very long time without getting exhausted. This is because a computer works under the guide of a program, and has an in-built cooling fan, or heat sink that makes it work all day long.
    7. Reliability: The computer responds to the instruction keyed into it without any alteration, as a result of this, it gives no room for doubt over output. Therefore, the operator relies on it for effectiveness.
      Example include a program computer device to ring alarm to alert workers of any emergency, a programmed entry and exit door used in big companies and supermarkets, offices, etc.
    8. Versatility: The computer is used in different fields of human endeavour ranging from business, education, technology, engineering, law, commerce, agriculture, medicine, sports, etc. It can perform different types of tasks provided such tasks can be stated in logical way for the computer to execute.  The computer is used to type letters, watch films, play music, etc.
    9. Large Storage Capacity: Vast quantities of data stored in paper files would become extremely bulky and require substantial storage space. Furthermore, the job of manually extracting data from such files would
      become increasingly tedious and time consuming as the size of the files increases. But with the computer, data can be stored electronically in considerable less space, and retrieve in a fraction of the time needed
      by the manual method. The ability of the computer to store, retrieve and process data, all without human intervention gives it power and advantage over that of human beings. So, while human can perform the same function as the computer, the difference and major benefits is that the computer can reliably execute millions of instructions in a second and stored the result in an almost unlimited memory.
    10. Programmability: The computer can be programmed to do all forms of activities of man so long as the task is reduced to a series of logical steps. Programming in computer means the act of writing computer programs and this involves the use of special set of
      characters, signs, symbols, to supply instruction to the computer for execution towards achieving specific tasks (motives). This opportunity gave room for the computer to be a versatile system.



    1. What are the different features that make the computer an excellent tool for data processing?
    2. Explain what it means for a computer to be versatility
    3. Can computers make mistake?  No/Yes? Give reasons for your answer


    See also


    Generations of Computers




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