Basic Computer Operations and Algorithm Development
Computer did come out as a revolution to the present day life and eventually changed the whole lifestyle of the majority of the people; currently the whole system of the world is based on the computer technology and all the systems are working on this very equipment; even the functioning of large government institutions looks apparently impossible without the presence of this machine - Basic Computer Operations and Algorithm Development introduction. Computer technology in short has changed the whole pattern of lifestyle, and it is hard to think even one such area which has not been influenced by it in the modern era. Speed, reliability and accuracy are three basic advantages that one tends to get when he opts to use this technology. Improvement has taken place drastically in all the three mentioned factors, which has made the usage of computers even more inevitable. Even though many changes have taken place in order to make this technology a better one for the world, but the basic structure remains the same. There are six basic operations which a computer is designed to perform; these basic functions are as follow:
Reception of information:
The first basic operation which a computer is designed to perform is that, it has the ability to receive the information from the user. This is one of the basic functions of computer because if a machine is unable to receive the information from its user then there is no way of getting the desired output. Programs are designed in such a way that it provides information to the machine in a systemic way, moreover the ease of the user is also kept in mind whilst formulating the programs. A computer has the ability to extract the needed information automatically from the sources like floppy disk, Compact Disks, etc. Users can also enter the relevant information by opting to use keyboard, mouse etc. The ability to receive various forms of inputs has made this device an immaculate one as it has become easier for the users to input the data into the system. Programmers use the verbs such as Read and Get while formulating the pseudo code.
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A computer can put out information:
As it is known that data is put into the process under the motive to get the desired final output, therefore giving output is amongst the six basic operations which a computer can perform. The development in the field of information technology has enabled us to get the processed information in the desired form. The usage of printers, monitors, etc has facilitated the users as the medium of output can be selected by them. The ability of the modern day systems to provide outputs in various forms is one thing which has increased exponentially the influence of this machine in our daily lives (Brookshear, 1985, p.101). The usage of special purpose computers has become a necessity as they provide output in the form which is wanted by the user. Verbs like Print, Write, Put, Output, and Display are used by the programmers.
A computer can perform arithmetic operations:
The basic ability of the computer is that it can perform basic arithmetic operations which are addition, subtraction, division and multiplication. The fast, accurate and the reliable outcomes presented by the computers in this domain have made the life of everyone pretty convenient. The modern day super computers are built in such a way that they can perform tiresome complex calculations in negligible time; this has made the process of research easier and time saving. The order of the arithmetic operations is also followed by most of the computer languages; this operation is a part of the processing component of the program(MASSACHUSETTS UNIV AMHERST,1986).
A computer can assign a value to a variable:
Computers have the ability to assign values to different variables, as per the instructions of the user. This is an important aspect of the computer programming as it saves the time of the programmers; this characteristic enables them to simply make a program which has wider implications. The words like Save and Store are used by the operators to keep a variable for the later use. This is the part of processing component of a program.
A computer can compare two variables and pick one of two different actions:
This operation of computer plays a vital role especially in the program formulation. The ability to compare between the two variables and as a result of the comparison opting one action out of various alternatives is one such characteristic which has made the programming easier, as the operators now just have to form one program instead of many. Keywords like If, Then and Else are used by the programmer when he wishes to setup a comparison between two variables. This comes under the processing component of a program(O’Brien,1989).
A computer can repeat a group of actions:
A computer can repeat a group of actions if need be; this saves the precious time of the programmers as they can reuse the loops and commands with ease; words like DOWHILE and ENDDO are used in pseudo codes for the fulfillment of this purpose.
Process of Algorithm Development
An algorithm is defined as a finite sequence of instructions, or step-by-step procedure for solving mathematical problem. Algorithms are mostly used for calculation and data processing purposes by the programmers. The more an algorithm has organized set of instructions, the more it is considered to be effective and well formulated. The steps involved in the development of an algorithm are investigation, preliminary algorithm, and refining the algorithm. All these steps have to be designed in such a diligent manner that at the end no loop holes are left, as this can prove to be disastrous for the final output(Brookshear,1985).
In the process of investigation four major steps take place; first of all the programmer identifies the processes cautiously as this is the basis for the formulation of an effective algorithm; identification of the major decisions, is done after that. The third and the fourth steps that are carried out are, respectively identification of the loops and identification of the variables.
In the beginning of the process of preliminary algorithm the programmer devises a high level algorithm and then check it several times to make sure that no grey area has been left out. If any problem comes across at this stage then it has to be corrected; these corrections must also follow a walk-through. In the third and the last process, the programmer incorporates any refinements which are indicated in the previous stage. After this apt processes and variables are grouped together. This move is also helpful in shortening the length of the algorithm; at last the algorithm is tested again and again in order to make sure that everything is perfectly crafted.
Brookshear, J. G. (1985). Computer science: an overview. Benjamin/Cummings Pub. Co.
MASSACHUSETTS UNIV AMHERST, R. (1986). Intermediate Level Computer Vision Processing Algorithm Development for the Content Addressable Array Parallel Processor. Defense Technical Information Center.
O’Brien, J. A. (1989). Computer Concepts and Applications: With an Introduction to Software and BASIC (3, revised ed.). McGraw-Hill School Education Group.