The term ‘computer’ is derived from the Latin word compute which means to calculate. Computer is an advanced electronic device that takes raw data as input from the user and processes these data under the control of set of instructions (called program) and gives the result (output) and saves output for the future use. It can process both numerical (arithmetic) and non-numerical (logical) calculations. Charles Babbage is called the Grand Father of the computer. The ﬁrst mechanical computer designed by Charles Babbage was called Analytical Engine. It uses read only memory in the form of punch cards.
TYPES OF COMPUTERS
On the basis of functionality, computers are classiﬁed as analog, digital, hybrid and super computer.
These computers are used to process analog data. Analog data is of continuous nature and which is not discrete or separate. Such type of data includes temperature, pressure, speed, weight, voltage, depth etc. These quantities are continuous and having an inﬁnite variety of values. It measures continuous changes in some physical quantity. e.g. the speedometer of a car measures speed, the change of temperature is measured by a thermometer, the weight is measured by weight machine.
These computers are ideal in situations where data can be accepted directly from measuring instrument without having to convert it into numbers or codes. Analog computers are the ﬁrst computers developed and they provided the basis for the development of the modern digital computers. Analog computers are widely used for certain specialised engineering and scientiﬁc applications, for calculation and measurement of analog quantities.
They are frequently used to control processes such as those found in oil reﬁnery where ﬂow and temperature measurements are important. They are used in paper making and in chemical industry. Analog computers do not require any storage capability because they measure and compare quantities in a single operation. Output from an analog computer is generally in the form of readings on a series of dial (speedometer of a car) or a graph on strip chart.
As its name implies digital computer works with digits to represent numerals, letters or other special symbols. Digital computers operate on inputs which are ON-OFF type and its output is also in the form of ON-OFF signal. Normally, an ON is represented by a 1 and an OFF is represented by a 0.
So, we can say that digital computers process information which is based on the presence or the absence of an electrical charge or we prefer to say a binary 1 or 0. A digital computer can be used to process numeric as well as non-numeric data. It can perform arithmetic operations like addition, subtraction, multiplication and division and also logical operations. Most of the computers available today are digital computers. The most common examples of digital computers are accounting machines and calculators.
HYBRID COMPUTER (ANALOG + DIGITAL)
A hybrid computer is a combination of digital and analog computers. It combines the best features of both types of computers, i.e. it has the speed of analog computer and the memory and accuracy of digital computer. Hybrid computers are used mainly in specialised applications where both kinds of data need to be processed. Therefore, they help the user to process both continuous and discrete data. For example a petrol pump contains a processor that converts fuel ﬂow measurements into quantity and price values. In hospital Intensive Care Unit (ICU), an analog device is used which measures patient’s b: od pressure and temperature etc, which are then converted and displayed in the form of digits. Hybrid computers are used for scientiﬁc calculations, in defense and radar systems.
Super computers are the fastest and most powerful type of computers that are very expensive and are employed for specialised applications that require immense amounts of mathematical calculations. For example, weather forecasting requires a super computer. Other uses of super computers include animated graphics, ﬂuid dynamic calculations, nuclear energy research and petroleum exploration.
Tianhe 2-or th-2 Tianhe-2 super computer is developed by China’s National University of Defence Technology. It held the top spot as the world’s most powerful super computer.Tianhe-2 reports performance of 33.86 petaﬂop/s (quadrillions of calculations per second) on whelinpack benchmark in the latest edition of the Top 500 list of the world’s most powerful supercomputers. It is also known as the Milky Way-2 and is almost twice as fast as ‘Titan’ of the US, which ranks in second place. Its highest operation speed per second is equal to 1.3 billion people using a calculator non-stop counting day and night for a thousand years. The computer system can be widely used in many areas such as medical service, transportation and cloud calculating. China’s Ministry of Science and
Technology announced that Tianhe-2 is open for users and invested thousand millions of yuan for developing applications that would work on the system. Sunn Titan Titan Active started work from 29th October, 2012 in Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The speed of this super computer is 17.59 petaﬂops. Titan is a ﬁrst super computer, which is based on GPU system and the working power of this super computer is upto 10 peta ﬂops. Titan was also ranked third on the Green 500, the top 500 super computers in terms of energy eﬃciency.
Param Yuva II India’s fastest super computer Param Yuva II is Developed by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC).Precise weather forecasting, faster tapping of natural resources in the sea and designing of customised drugs for individuals will now be possible using Param Yuva II. This system is designed to solve large and complex computational problems. This will provide an opportunity for new scientiﬁc endeavors for the research community. By making use of hybrid technology, the increase in peak compute power from 54 Teraﬂop/s to 524 Teraﬂops has been achieved without any signiﬁcant change in the electrical power consumed by the facility. With an investment of 16 crore, it was developed in a record 3 months.
Param Yuva II will also give a boost to research in space and bioinformatics, among others. Developing research-based applications will take lesser time than before and complex problems will be solved in a simpler way. For instance, if it takes about 18 to 20 years to discover a new drug now – from designing to testing – Param Yuva II will help reduce this time to 15 years. The supercomputer would also help in reducing the time-frame in weather predictions.
SAGA-220 It stands for Super computer for Aerospace with GPU Architecture-220 teraﬂops. It is a super computer built by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). The system is being used by scientists to solve complex aeronautical problems. It has been hinted that, it will be used to design future space launch vehicles. PARAM Anant It is a low cost super computing solution based on C-DAC’s unique open frame architecture for scalable and high performance computing that incorporates well-known Cluster Of Workstations (COW) and Massively Parallel Processing (MPP) concepts. The core super computing technologies for the PARAM Anant are derived from C-DAC’s 100GF
PARAM 10000 installed at the National Param Super computing Facility located at Pune, India which is a culmination of over 10 years of C-DAC’s expertise in the development of super computers for scientiﬁc and engineering applications.