In This Article
What is Computer?
Computers, in a few simple words, can be defined as competitive assets that accommodate a large amount of data, process them as and when required, and perform a lot of different complicated functions.
Typically, computers are electronic devices that are specifically built to work with data. Technically speaking, a computer represents decimal numbers via a string of binary digits.
- Computers are used in the education sector as well as in the healthcare industry along with the chemists and pharmacists.
- It is also used in the field of science and scientific research and development, business, hotels and restaurants, in governments’ offices as well as for entertainment purposes.
- Also used in retail and trade, the defense and military, sports and publishing media, communication and field of arts use computers extensively nowadays.
- Banking and finance industry, transport and navigation, weather forecasting, astronomy, and the robotics industry also use computers.
- Finally, computers are used at homes, offices, by students and job seekers, for security and surveillance, in kitchen appliances, in cars and other vehicles and almost everywhere.
A computer can process both numerical and non-numerical calculations. Therefore, it can be used to make both arithmetic and logical calculations.
Looking deeper, the term ‘computer’ is derived from the Latin word ‘computare.’ This refers to a programmable machine or to calculate. This is because a computer cannot function without a program.
However, over time and usage, the term ‘computer’ typically signifies the CPU or the Center Processor Unit and the internal memory.
The first mechanical computer was designed by Charles Babbage and therefore he is called the ‘Grand Father’ of the computer.
This was called the Analytical Engine and used ROM or Read Only Memory to operate in the shape of punch cards.
Typically, a computer functions by taking in inputs from the user and processing that data using a program or a set of instructions.
It gives the result, or output, in quick time and also saves it for future use.
The basic components of a computer include:
- Input device
- Output device
- Central Processor Unit
- Mass storage device and memory.
However, a typical modern computer performs by using LSI or Large Scale Integration chips.
Ideally, a computer performs four major functions such as accepting data or input, processing data, producing output, and storing results. These functions can be briefly explained as follows:
- Input data – This refers to the raw information given to the computer with the help of the input devices like keyboard, mouse et cetera. This information can be anything from numbers, letters, or images.
- Processing data – This refers to the operation of data according to the given instruction using the set program. This is typically an internal process of the computer system and is performed mainly by the CPU.
- Producing output – This refers to the processed data displayed by the computer on the output devices such as the monitor or printer. Sometimes, these Outputs are also referred to as Results.
- Mass storage – All of the results produced by the computer can be stored or saved in its internal memory and can be used anytime in the future when required.
Depending on the size, power, purpose, functions, data handling and processing capabilities, computers can be classified as:
- Analog computers – These represent numbers by some physical quantity that is constantly changeable. These variations imitate some properties of the system being modeled.
- Personal computers – These are small in size and are not expensive. Usually referred to as desktop computers, the laptops fall under this category as well. These computers are used to do computing tasks in smaller volumes on a regular basis or off and on.
- Workstation – This refers to a computer terminal or a desktop computer in a network. This is used as a generic term simply to refer to the client machine or the machine of the user in contrast to a mainframe or a server.
- Mainframe – This refers to a very large computer that is used to run a whole corporation.
- Supercomputer – This refers to the largest, fastest, and most costly computers used on Earth.
There are also Microcomputers and Minicomputers that typically refers to the personal computers and their related family.
These computers are not ‘micro’ or ‘mini’ in the literal sense of the terms.
25 Major Uses of Computers
Now that you have a fair bit of idea about a computer, take a look at its different uses.
School kids, college students, and research scholars use computers to get the right kind of data, knowledge and information along with different study and reference materials. Research shows that use of computers in studies can enhance the performance and results of the students significantly. Using computers and internet can help in:
- Looking for different online sources for reference on a specific topic
- Creating presentations and article for academic project work
- Distance learning
- Availing different online audio and video courses and even
- Teaching in smart classes.
It would have been impossible for the students to gain such knowledge without the use of computers and the internet.
Computers today can also be used in the education sector to monitor the performance of a student by the institution and by the student to maintain or even improve it.
Taking online classes and examinations, creating projects and assignments and submitting them on time have become easier with the use of computers and the internet.
Medical records and history of patients can now be accessed easily and quickly with the use of computers since these are stored in them digitally.
There are different tools that can be used in the field of medicine as well with the help of computers for performing several tests and examinations on a patient.
Moreover, computer software can identify and assess a disease easily and quickly thereby reducing the risk by facilitating quick and proper treatment.
In the segment of mental healthcare, computers are used to screen distressed teenagers and provide accurate psychotherapy.
Add to that, treating a paralyzed patient due to stroke is also easy now with the use of computers.
Patients can receive an implant that will be suitable for the specific patient allowing proper communication and coordination between his brain and a computer and convey messages by moving a cursor across the screen by brainpower.
Computers also help in using and controlling lab equipment such as blood pressure monitors, heart rate monitors, and complex machines like the USG and ECG machines and more.
The doctors can also use the computers to have better and easier access to information related to the latest treatment techniques, drugs and even share the information with other health specialists about a specific disease.
Use of computers in the healthcare industry helps in better patient monitoring, medical research, creating diagnostic databases, and even in conducting surgeries.
3. Pharmacists and Chemists
The pharmacists and chemists can also use computers to their benefit. Use of specific software and computers will help them to manage their stock of medicine in their factory, stockrooms, and shops.
Apart from that, calculating prices of a huge number of medicines of different types will be very difficult, if not impossible, if it is done manually.
Use of a computer and particular software will help in price calculation of the medicines.
When it comes to sales, it is important for pharmacists to analyze their sales.
This will not only help in determining the profits earned but will also help in knowing which particular types of medicines move off the shelves fast and which are slow or a no-mover.
They can make their purchase orders accordingly in the future to eliminate losses.
Apart from that, use of computers and precise tools will also help them in tax calculation and pay their taxes on time according to the tax laws of the government and avoid penalties and legal consequences.
Computers can help scientists a lot. A new trend followed by the scientists now is called ‘collaboratory’ which refers to ‘collaborative laboratory.’
The scientists here use the computer and the internet to work as a team with other scientists staying in a different corner of the world simultaneously.
For example, space physicists use computers in four parts of the world to work together to evaluate the earth’s ionosphere.
Computers also help in launching and controlling spacecrafts as well as help in their maintenance.
Use of supercomputers is very common for Research and Development in science and to create more accurate topographic images to identify and analyze data to understand the nature and time of earthquakes.
Competitiveness as well as productivity of a business can be enhanced significantly with the use of computers.
A computer can be typically used in almost every area of business including and certainly not limited to:
- Sales and marketing
- Finance management
- Stock trading
- Shipping and handling
- Developing business strategies
- Customer care
- Transportation of goods and more.
Computers today enhance communication both inside and outside the business premise that helps in promoting the business on the whole.
Several businesses today even use computer-based programs to train their employees. This improves performance and also saves training costs.
The world of recreation and entertainment today probably cannot survive without using a computer.
It is used in making movies to use computer generated graphics and special effects to make images look life-like. Even imaginary characters can be used in movies, commercials and videos which was not possible before.
Computers are used extensively in making music as well. Mixing sounds and voices of two singers not signing together at the same time is now done easily.
Sound and tone clarity are enhanced with different computerized techniques which makes a song sound better.
There are also several different types of computer games to play that will not only keep you entertained in our leisure but will also improve your cognitive abilities, mental capability and thinking power.
7. Hotels and Restaurants
Computers are used in hotels extensively not only to make reservations but also for providing the right kind of service at the right time. It includes:
- Food service
- Concierge or janitor service
- Finance management
- Inventory management
- Staff payment and creating a job schedule and lots more.
Computers also help the travelers a lot and in different ways such as examining route options, studying timetables, buying tickets, booking accommodation, search for local places of interests, eating houses, look for guided tours, events, and excursions to explore.
In the restaurants, the use of computers is primarily seen in the cash counters where data is entered into the device directly which calculates the cost of the food and then prints the receipt.
Computers are also used in several different departments of government for planning, administration, control, management, law enforcement, and several other activities.
The different departments of the government that use a computer for their day to day operations are:
- Law and order
- Information and Broadcasting
- Aviation and many others.
Computers also play a vital role in the legislative processes of the government. It helps the lawyers, the trainee lawyers and the law students find all necessary information in a quick time.
Not only for preparing legal documents, use of computers also helps in processing and producing predicted reports, maintaining these records, and tracking payments of penalties and consulting, and maintaining a diary by the attorney regarding the court procedures and consumer information.
There are different areas in defense that use a computer for better results and operation. These are:
- Controlling UAV or Unmanned Air Vehicles, drones, and other current and future weapons
- Controlling and guiding Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles or ICBMs by using GPS so that it hits the target precisely
- Tracking incoming missiles and helping the weapons systems to destroy the incoming target
- Helping in Situational Awareness or finding out their weapons and assets and control the communications and battle management systems
- Helping in logistic and ordering equipment for warfare to and around the combat zone
- Targeting enemy forces with the tanks, warplanes, and warships and running them and even diagnosing any issues within the platforms and
- Helping in designing and testing new battle systems.
Computers are also used extensively for military training purposes apart from scrutinizing intelligence data.
In the field of sports, using computers help in creating training programs and playing strategies, diet plans for athletes, selling tickets, and compiling statistics.
Even past performance analysis of a competitor is done with the help of computers.
Computers help the official statistics keepers to record information, take notes, analyze, and chat online while working or attending a sports event.
As for the athletes, computers help them to analyze their movements very closely and precisely to find any errors and rectify them to enhance their performance and change poor habits.
Computers also help the sportswriters to write about a game during watching it or shortly after.
They can use different clips and snaps to make their presentation all the more beautiful and interesting.
All modern sports venues have computerized scoreboards rather than the manual ones.
These extremely modern scoreboards are precisely programmed and update the results and statistics accurately and in time when the data is entered into the computer.
The use of computers also helps in designing better safety equipment for the athletes such as mouth guards, football helmets, and shoes.
11. Retail and Trade
Most of the goods and services today are bought and sold online and without the use of computers this will not be possible.
Use of computers and internet helps businesses to reach a much wider audience beyond their geo limits.
This not only increases their sales prospects but also reduces cost of overheads.
Retailers can also advertise about their products and services at low cost on specific listing websites, independent websites, and several social media channels.
Better marketing campaigns can be created with the help of computers after proper analysis.
Better promotional materials can be created with more precise manipulation of data and with email and online chatting services direct communication can be established with the consumers to get their valued feedback.
As for the buyers, they can visit different stores, compare products and prices, read different reviews, and choose a payment and delivery option according to their preferences, all from the comfort of their homes.
Computers are used in almost every type and area of publication. This helps in better and faster production.
Some of the areas of publication that are improved with the use of computers are:
- Marketing materials
- Novels and more.
Computers do not only help in publishing hard copies but also help significantly in designing and publishing e-books. Add to that, computers also help in marketing publications and tracking sales.
Every branch of art today uses computers. These digital machines help in creating drawings, paintings, and graphics designs.
Photographs of art pieces can also be copied, edited, printed or sent digitally by using computers and animation.
Computers are also used extensively in the field of dance and look for ways in which the movements can be made more fluid.
It is easy now to make real-time communication with the help of computers and the internet with others no matter at which part of the world they stay.
Specific types of software such as Zoom and Skype are run on the computers that bring the world closer through videoconferencing.
Family members staying in distant places can now stay connected and close to each other using both audio and video during communications.
Businesses can hold meetings with remotely located participants and people can attend conferences virtually.
Even interviews can be recorded without the need of a film crew.
15. Banking and Finance
Banks use computers extensively. Most banking services are now available online which includes everything from checking account balances to transferring money to another person staying far away.
Computers are used in ATM services, paying off credit cards, storing account information of customers, managing lockers, and even streamlining marketing by tracking customer behavior in detail.
As for the other avenues of finance, computers are used extensively in the stock markets to analyze the market, trade stocks and shares, and manage investments.
Apart from making online banking transactions, computers can also help in making online bill payments, opening a new account, applying for loans, and for a wide range of monetary transactions.
16. Transport and Navigation
Modern transportation systems are automated with computers. This not only helps in providing better services but also helps in maintaining safety when people drive on the roads, fly planes, or steer boats.
Use of computers also helps in highlighting specific issues that need immediate attention such as oil changes, low fuel levels, a deteriorating mechanical part and more.
Computers can also help in customizing settings according to the preference of the individuals such as adjusting seat setup and temperatures of the air conditioning.
Computerized navigation today with the use of GPS technology with satellites now help in assessing the exact location and the way a vehicle is moving on the map.
This not only helps in knowing the places of interests and amenities around but also helps in distress situations to arrange a proper rescue operation.
17. Work from Home
Especially after the Coronavirus pandemic, work from home has become a norm. Computers have made it very easy to stay connected with the office and work remotely.
Computers are useful for others who work from home such as:
- Data entry operators
- Freelance writers
- Web developers
- Travel agents
- Call centre operators
- Online tutors
- Software developers
- Social media managers
- Accountants and bookkeepers and more.
This enhances productivity and helps in better time management. Computers allow accessing all necessary files and data as well as communicating and sharing information with the office staff and other clients without needing to commute to the office physically.
Even the managers can track the performance of the staff and monitor their productivity remotely.
18. Home Budget
Computers are also used in homes to manage home budgets with the help of personal finance software.
You can create a budget, track expenses and savings, monitor debts, identify and eliminate unnecessary expenses, prepare for emergencies, pay taxes, and manage your short term and long term financial goals.
The specialized software will also help you to generate accurate reports which may even help your personal accountant a lot on calculating your taxes and prepare a file accordingly.
Socializing has become easy today with the use of computers. People have found new ways to stay connected with friends and share the latest news with them through text and videos.
Different social media channels such as Facebook, now Meta, and Twitter enable users to chat, exchange memes, and even date with others using the different dating sites.
Computers therefore bring people from all over the world closer who share similar interests and experiences not only to interact and discuss general and specialist topics but also to find love.
20. Security and Surveillance
Computers are used extensively for security and surveillance on roads, airports, shopping malls, offices, stadiums, and residences.
It can not only help in tracking the movement of people or goods, both authorized and unauthorized, but can also prevent fraudulent entry by combining biometric pass codes, face recognition technology, and more with it.
Computers therefore can help in identifying criminals and terrorists in public places.
Computers can also be used in police cars and speed cameras to scan driver plates automatically. This can reduce accidents happening on the streets due to rash driving.
21. Weather Forecasting and Astronomy
The complex and continual job of weather forecasting is made easy by the use of computers.
The weather keeps on changing every moment and maintaining and analyzing such huge amounts of data manually will be impossible.
The computers can assess situations very quickly and accurately by considering the different factors that cause the weather to change continually.
Whether it is analyzing the satellite images or performing complex calculations, the computers can do it all in an instant and forecast accurately what is going to happen in the near future.
The field of astronomy is also benefited by the use of computers.
It can help in taking pictures of distant celestial objects and gather other relevant meteorological information in huge amounts and analyze them to discover new events and predict the future.
The field of robotics uses sophisticated technology which is better managed by computers.
Robotics actually combines science and engineering to create machines that will replace humans and do jobs that humans cannot. It can be used in different areas such as:
- To build cars
- To help law enforcement
- To help healthcare professionals
- To help the military and more.
All these needs accurate designing and operation of the robots and computers help in achieving it.
23. Job Seekers
People who are looking for new jobs or a switchover will find a computer to be extremely useful.
It will not only help them to enhance their computer skills to get a job easily but in other aspects as well.
Usually, people with better computer skills and IT knowledge get a job quicker than those who possess only job-specific dexterity.
For example, a computer can help them to learn specific software used in the offices and also enhance their typing skills, file management, and integrating of social media and business skills.
Moreover, use of computers will help in creating a most professional appealing resume by using different templates and other technical aides.
And, you will not have to look for the hard copies frantically when you need to send your resume quickly to an employer.
All you have to do is connect to the internet and mail your stored CV from your computer.
24. Kitchen Appliances
Today, in the kitchen there are several appliances that have small computers in them for easy operation.
The small electronic processors and memory chips in these kitchen appliances such as dishwashers, microwave ovens and others help people do their job by simply pressing a button.
Even the refrigerators, washing machines and other home appliances come with such beneficial features.
25. Computerized Houses and Cars
Advancement in computer technology has made the lives of people much easier today.
Now you can have modern cars that are controlled by computers, at least the major part of its functions.
Doors can be opened by voice recognition technology, accidents can be prevented with sensors, providing the road map, sensing status of fuel and indicating accordingly, and sometime very soon cars will even be driven by computers.
Even houses are even computer controlled now to make it safer and more convenient to live in. use of proper computers and tools can control lights and home temperature, recognize and welcome guests, water your lawn and much more.
These are however just the most common uses of computers in daily lives of people.
In fact, the use of computers today seems to be endless and it is quite hard to encompass each and every one of them in one single article.
However, the rate at which technology is developing with each passing day, you can expect much more computer use in the near and distant future.
Computers are available readily today to use by people of all ages. It can be used by kids and college students, office clerks and businessmen, research scholars and scientists, administration and governance, manufacturers and retailers, and lots more, as pointed out in this article.