2I/Borisov: Interstellar comet with a familiar look

A new comet discovered by amateur astronomer Gennady Borisov is an outcast from another star system, yet its properties are surprisingly familiar, a new study led by Jagiellonian University researchers shows. The team's findings ...

Numbers limit how accurately digital computers model chaos

The study, published today in Advanced Theory and Simulations, shows that digital computers cannot reliably reproduce the behaviour of 'chaotic systems' which are widespread. This fundamental limitation could have implications ...

New method for detecting quantum states of electrons

Quantum computing harnesses enigmatic properties of small particles to process complex information. But quantum systems are fragile and error-prone, and useful quantum computers have yet to come to fruition.

Spreading light over quantum computers

Scientists at Linköping University have shown how a quantum computer really works and have managed to simulate quantum computer properties in a classical computer. "Our results should be highly significant in determining ...

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Computer

A computer is a machine that manipulates data according to a set of instructions.

Although mechanical examples of computers have existed through much of recorded human history, the first electronic computers were developed in the mid-20th century (1940–1945). These were the size of a large room, consuming as much power as several hundred modern personal computers (PCs). Modern computers based on integrated circuits are millions to billions of times more capable than the early machines, and occupy a fraction of the space. Simple computers are small enough to fit into a wristwatch, and can be powered by a watch battery. Personal computers in their various forms are icons of the Information Age and are what most people think of as "computers". The embedded computers found in many devices from MP3 players to fighter aircraft and from toys to industrial robots are however the most numerous.

The ability to store and execute lists of instructions called programs makes computers extremely versatile, distinguishing them from calculators. The Church–Turing thesis is a mathematical statement of this versatility: any computer with a certain minimum capability is, in principle, capable of performing the same tasks that any other computer can perform. Therefore computers ranging from a mobile phone to a supercomputer are all able to perform the same computational tasks, given enough time and storage capacity.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA