What is a computer?  We’re living in the computer age when the computer is considered man’s greatest invention and the most wonderful gift of science to mankind. It has made man’s life easier than ever. This has changed how the world functions and how knowledge can come right in front of you – with just a click!  And it has bridged the gap between humanity and the machine itself. Isn’t it amazing how a small machine has advanced modern living?

What is a computer?

The computer is an electronic device that processes all kinds of data or information and is known to be an electronic calculating machine. The computer performs from the simplest to the most complex function – and at a tremendous and accurate speed. It takes in data, processes it according to the instruction, then gives the desired output.

The very first computer, a large machine, was introduced by Charles Babbage. The computer underwent different phases of evolution, hence, the computers used today are already on the fifth generation of computer.  Their smaller parts mean they are more portable than how they used to be.

How does it work?

In order for a computer to function, it needs a combination of hardware, software.  It also needs input devices.

Hardware refers to the physical components of the computer like the keyboard, monitor, mouse, hard disc drive, motherboard and the like.

Software, on the other hand, is a set of instructions that a computer performs to carry out the task given. The programs and applications are the software in a computer.

Lastly, the inputs are the commands that we give the computer which tells them what to do, what software to run.

Boot up

When you switch on your computer, “boot up” is started.  Therefore, “Booting up” is the process where the system software tells the CPU to start up certain programs and to turn on some hardware devices to be ready for more input.


When you click an icon or enter a command, the second step starts. For example, you opened up the internet browser where you either enter a website or click on any already saved web address, the software then looks for the page through the internet. Once found, the browser will send the information from the web page to your computer.

All processes are done by the computer take place in the Central Processing Unit or CPU. Therefore, the computer accepts data, performs the operation based on the set of instruction or input, then provides the desired output.

The basic parts of the computer are;

1. Monitor – an electronic device that displays information on the computer. It looks like a mini television
2. Central Processing Unit (CPU) – interprets and carries out the instruction from the software
3. Keyboard – allows a person to enter letters, numbers and other symbols
4. Mouse – a computer input device used to move a cursor on the screen
5. Printer – a machine that prints data
Computers have different types. The following are the most common types of computer:
1. Desktop Computers – these are places on top of the desk and are mostly used for home, school or office
2. Laptop Computers – a more portable type of computer that is battery powered
3. Tablet Computers – these are flat, touch screen and hand-carried computers

So, what is a computer?  See if you can remember some of the parts.

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