From the days of adding machines and typewriters to the present day, the
computer has revolutionized the way information is processed. First
developed during the early to mid-1900s, computers can process information
much faster and more accurately than human beings. Early mainframe
computers were large and expensive; they also required specially designed
rooms where temperature and humidity were carefully controlled.
Over the years, miniaturization of electronic components and the use of
integrated circuits, as well as the development of microprocessor chips,
led to smaller, faster, and less expensive computers. Today, the
ubiquitous personal computer has provided a remarkable amount of computing
power for much of the world's population. In the United States, we
now have computers on virtually every desk as well as laptops to accompany
us everywhere else. With the Internet, we can use these amazing
devices to quickly access a seemingly endless variety of information.
Computers are electronic devices that can collect, store, process, and
disseminate information. A computer consists of a system board (or
motherboard) and a central processing unit (CPU), as well as
volatile memory chips (RAM) and non-volatile storage devices such as disk
drives. A computer also requires peripheral devices such as a mouse,
keyboard, and scanner for collecting data and a
or projector for disseminating information.
Computer programmers instruct computers, by means of a series of precise
instructions called software, to process data in a specified
manner. Using software programs, raw data can be converted into
valuable information. This information can be used to increase
productivity, enhance the quality of products and services, and gain
competitive advantages. However, as computers have become more
widely interconnected, via the Internet, privacy and security concerns
are becoming a major issue for the computer industry.
The IEEE Computer Society features
extensive resources about computers and computing, and this page lists a
selection of useful information resources for computer professionals.