What’s a computer?

Queue that “stupid” apple commercial. Really though, what is a computer? The definition has been blurred by the revolution of mobile and cloud computing. How about this computer built entirely in Minecraft?

The answer is “yes”. In the dictionary, a computer is defined as:

an electronic device for storing and processing data, typically in binary form, according to instructions given to it in a variable program.

English Oxford Dictionary

Pretty boring sounding, until you consider that according to that definition, we are computers. Biological computers are computers too!

multicolored abacus photography
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In the simplest terms, a computer is anything that can compute. If that’s confusing that’s because it did not compute – Heh. Really though anything that perform a function with an input and an output could be considered a computer, albeit a limited one.

black wireless headphone near white hp laptop
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For the sake of this course, we’re going to focus on the definition by which the modern technology industry has been shaped; think: Microsoft, Apple, Linux, HP, Dell, Google, and even Amazon.