Computer::first    Computer::title    Machine::memory    Program::language    Programs::system    Devices::which

Misconceptions {{#invoke:main|main}}

Women as computers in NACA High Speed Flight Station "Computer Room"

A computer does not need to be electronic, nor even have a processor, nor RAM, nor even a hard disk. While popular usage of the word "computer" is synonymous with a personal electronic computer, the modern<ref>According to the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (6th ed, 2007), the word computer dates back to the mid 17th century, when it referred to “A person who makes calculations; specifically a person employed for this in an observatory etc.”</ref> definition of a computer is literally: "A device that computes, especially a programmable [usually] electronic machine that performs high-speed mathematical or logical operations or that assembles, stores, correlates, or otherwise processes information."<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> Any device which processes information qualifies as a computer, especially if the processing is purposeful.

Unconventional computing

{{#invoke:main|main}} Historically, computers evolved from mechanical computers and eventually from vacuum tubes to transistors. However, conceptually computational systems as flexible as a personal computer can be built out of almost anything. For example, a computer can be made out of billiard balls (billiard ball computer); an often quoted example.{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||date=__DATE__ |$B= {{#invoke:Category handler|main}}{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}[citation needed] }} More realistically, modern computers are made out of transistors made of photolithographed semiconductors.

Computer sections
Intro  Etymology  History  Programs  Components  Networking and the Internet  Misconceptions  Future  Further topics  Hardware  Software  Languages  Types of computers  Input Devices  Output Devices  Professions and organizations  See also  Notes  References  External links  

PREVIOUS: Networking and the InternetNEXT: Future