Classification of Computers

The computer systems can be classified on the following basis:

1. On the basis of size.
2. On the basis of functionality.
3. On the basis of data handling.

Classification on the basis of size



  1. Super computers : The super computers are the most high performing system. A supercomputer is a computer with a high level of performance compared to a general-purpose computer. The actual Performance of a supercomputer is measured in FLOPS instead of MIPS. All of the world’s fastest 500 supercomputers run Linux-based operating systems. Additional research is being conducted in China, the US, the EU, Taiwan and Japan to build even faster, more high performing and more technologically superior supercomputers. Supercomputers actually play an important role in the field of computation, and are used for intensive computation tasks in various fields, including quantum mechanics, weather forecasting, climate research, oil and gas exploration, molecular modeling, and physical simulations. and also Throughout the history, supercomputers have been essential in the field of the cryptanalysis.
    eg: PARAM, jaguar, roadrunner.
  2. Mainframe computers : These are commonly called as big iron, they are usually used by big organisations for bulk data processing such as statics, census data processing, transaction processing and are widely used as the severs as these systems has a higher processing capability as compared to the other classes of computers, most of these mainframe architectures were established in 1960s, the research and development worked continuously over the years and the mainframes of today are far more better than the earlier ones, in size, capacity and efficiency.
    Eg: IBM z Series, System z9 and System z10 servers.
  3. Mini computers : These computers came into the market in mid 1960s and were sold at a much cheaper price than the main frames, they were actually designed for control, instrumentation, human interaction, and communication switching as distinct from calculation and record keeping, later they became very popular for personal uses with evolution.
    In the 60s to describe the smaller computers that became possible with the use of transistors and core memory technologies, minimal instructions sets and less expensive peripherals such as the ubiquitous Teletype Model 33 ASR.They usually took up one or a few inch rack cabinets, compared with the large mainframes that could fill a room, there was a new term “MINICOMPUTERS” coined
    Eg: Personal Laptop, PC etc.
  4. Micro computers : A microcomputer is a small, relatively inexpensive computer with a microprocessor as its CPU. It includes a microprocessor, memory, and minimal I/O circuitry mounted on a single printed circuit board.The previous to these computers, mainframes and minicomputers, were comparatively much larger, hard to maintain and more expensive. They actually formed the foundation for present day microcomputers and smart gadgets that we use in day to day life.
    Eg: Tablets, Smartwatches.

Classification on the basis of functionality

  1. Servers : Servers are nothing but dedicated computers which are set-up to offer some services to the clients. They are named depending on the type of service they offered. Eg: security server, database server.
  2. Workstation : Those are the computers designed to primarily to be used by single user at a time. They run multi-user operating systems. They are the ones which we use for our day to day personal / commercial work.
  3. Information Appliances : They are the portable devices which are designed to perform a limited set of tasks like basic calculations, playing multimedia, browsing internet etc. They are generally referred as the mobile devices. They have very limited memory and flexibility and generally run on “as-is” basis.
  4. Embedded computers : They are the computing devices which are used in other machines to serve limited set of requirements. They follow instructions from the non-volatile memory and they are not required to execute reboot or reset. The processing units used in such device work to those basic requirements only and are different from the ones that are used in personal computers- better known as workstations.

Classification on the basis of data handling

  1. Analog : An analog computer is a form of computer that uses the continuously-changeable aspects of physical fact such as electrical, mechanical, or hydraulic quantities to model the problem being solved. Any thing that is variable with respect to time and continuous can be claimed as analog just like an analog clock measures time by means of the distance traveled for the spokes of the clock around the circular dial.
  2. Digital : A computer that performs calculations and logical operations with quantities represented as digits, usually in the binary number system of “0” and “1”, “Computer capable of solving problems by processing information expressed in discrete form. from manipulation of the combinations of the binary digits, it can perform mathematical calculations, organize and analyze data, control industrial and other processes, and simulate dynamic systems such as global weather patterns.
  3. Hybrid : A computer that processes both analog and digital data, Hybrid computer is a digital computer that accepts analog signals, converts them to digital and processes them in digital form.


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