Computers differ based on its data processing abilities. They are classified according to data handling, purpose and functionality.
According to purpose, computers are either specific purpose or general purpose. General purpose computers are designed to perform the range of tasks. They have ability to store numerous programs but efficiency and lack speed. Specific purpose computers are designed to handle specific problem or to perform a specific task. A set of instructions is built into machine.
According to data handling, computers are hybrid, analog or digital. Analog computers work on the principle of the measuring, in which the measurements obtained are translated into data. Modern analog computers usually employ electrical parameters, such as resistances, currents or voltages, to represent the quantities being manipulated. Such computers are not deal directly with the numbers. They measure the continuous physical magnitudes. Digital computers are those that operate with numerical, information or otherwise, represented in a digital form. Such computers process the data into a digital value (in 0s and 1s). They give results with more accuracy and at a faster rate. Hybrid computers incorporate the measuring feature of an analog computer and counting feature of digital computer. For computational purposes, these computers used for storage and analog components, digital memories are used.
According to functionality, the type of computers is classified as:
An analog computer (spelled analog in British English) is a form of computer that uses continuous physical phenomena such as mechanical, electrical, or hydraulic quantities to model the problem being solved.
A computer that performs calculations and logical operations with quantities represented as digits, usually in binary number system.
Hybrid Computer (Analog + Digital)
A combination of computers those are capable of outputting and inputting in both digital and analog signals. A hybrid computer system setup offers the cost-effective method of performing complex simulations.
On the basis of Size: Type of Computer
The most powerful and fastest type of computer Supercomputers are very expensive and are employed for specialized applications that require immense amounts of mathematical calculations. For example, weather forecasting requires the supercomputer. Other uses of supercomputers include fluid dynamic calculations, animated graphics, nuclear energy research, and petroleum exploration.
The chief difference between a supercomputer and a mainframe computer is that a supercomputer channels all its power into executing a few programs as fast as possible, whereas a mainframe uses its power to execute many programs concurrently.
A very expensive computer capable of supporting hundreds, or even thousands, of users simultaneously. In some ways, mainframes are more powerful than supercomputers because they support the more simultaneous programs. But supercomputers can execute a single program faster than the mainframe.
A minicomputer is midsized computer. In power and size, minicomputers lie between mainframes and workstations. In the past decade, the distinction between small mainframes and large minicomputers has blurred, however, as has the distinction between small minicomputers and workstations. But in general, the minicomputer is a multiprocessing system capable of supporting from 4 to 200 users simultaneously.
Micro Computer or Personal Computer
- Desktop Computer: a micro-mini or a personal computer sufficient to fit on a desk.
- Laptop Computer: a portable computer completes with an integrated screen and keyboard. It is generally smaller in size than the desktop computer and larger than the notebook computer.
- Palmtop Computer/Digital Diary /Notebook /PDAs: a hand-sized computer, Palmtops have no keyboard but the screen serves both as an output and input device.
- WorkstationsA desktop or terminal computer in a network. In this context, workstation is the generic term for a user’s machine (client machine) in contrast to a “mainframe” or “server”.Here is a video related to this topic.