There are different ways in which data can be generated in a computer. Consequently, there are three types of computers based on how data for processing is generated or captured. These are Digital computers, Analog computers and Hybrid computers.
In this post we take a look at computers classified by type.
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A digital computer is a computer that stores and performs a series of mathematical and logical operations on data expressed as discrete signals interpreted as numbers, usually in base two (binary notation) referred to as binary digits or bits, that is 0 and 1. These computers are designed to handle digital signals which are finite in nature. They work with discrete values or quantities (0, 1, 2, 3 …). Digital computers can be used for computation of figures through addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and comparison. Examples of digital computers are calculators, adding machines, and personal computers like desktops, laptops, tablets, as well as handheld computers.
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An analogue computer uses a variable physical quantity such as voltage to represent data and process data in a form of electrical voltages. Analogue signals are different from digital signals in that they originate as continuous variables able or liable to change. They are made into measuring instruments with pointers on straight or circular dials. Analogue computers are common in our homes and examples are the thermometer, measuring scales, barometer and speedometer.
There is the possibility to generate both digital and analogue signals at the same time and neither the digital nor analogue computer would be suitable to handle both signals. In this case a hybrid computer which has a combination of both digital and analogue features would be better.Examples of hybrid computers are the money counting machine, Automated Teller Machine (ATM), and the fuel pump.
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