They range from micro-computers to supercomputers. There has been a tremendous and significant development in computer technology since the first commercial computer became available in 1950s.
Supercomputers are the fastest and the largest computers available today. They have large memories and high processing speeds so that they can process nearly a billion transactions per second and nearly a trillion arithmetic operations in the same time. While conventional computers have a single processor which processes one instruction at a time, supercomputers, have multiple processors that process multiple instructions at a time.
The process in known as “parallel processing” (It is argued that a supercomputer can do in a single second what would take a person punching one calculation per second into a hand-held calculator 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, nearly 31,709 years to do).
A mainframe is a large, general purpose computer which generally serves 100 or more end users. They have a large memory and excellent processing capabilities and often serve as a central computing system for major corporations and government agencies®. They are ideal for transaction processing, financial application, payroll calculations, airline reservations and so on.
Also known as personal computers (PCs), microcomputers have revolutionized the computer technology by making computers compact, powerful and versatile machines. These personal computers are available in the form of desk-tops, laptops and note books. They generally serve a single end-user.
The heart of a microcomputer is the microprocessor, a device that integrates the computer’s memory, logic and control on a single chip. Because of their flexibility, micro computers simplify many aspects of management. They may interact with the mainframe to give executives access to corporate data bases.