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“ема 9. Computer Applications

Many people have or will have had some experience of Ђconversingї with computers. They may have their own micro-computer, they may use a terminal from the main company at work or they may have a television set with a view data facility. Those who do not have this experience may observe the staff at, for example, an airline check-in or a local bank branch office sitting at their desks, pressing keys on a typewriter like a keyboard and reading information presented on a television type screen. In such a situation the check-in clerk or the branch cashier is using the computer to obtain information (e.g. to find out if a seat is booked) or to amend information (e.g. to change a customer's name and address).

The word Ђcomputerї conjures up different images and thoughts in people's mind depending upon their experiences. Some view computers as powerful, intelligent machines that can maintain a Ђbig brotherї watch over everyone. Others are staggered and fascinated by the marvels achieved by the space programs of the superpowers, where computers play an important part.

Numerous factories use computers to control machines that make products. A computer turns the machines on and off and adjusts then-operations when necessary. Without computers, it would be impossible for engineers to perform the enormous number of calculations needed to solve many advanced technological problems. Computers help in the building of spacecraft, and they assist flight engineers in launching, controlling and tracking the vehicles. Computers also are used to develop equipment for exploring the moon and planets. They enable architectural and civil engineers to design complicated bridges and other structures with relative ease.

Computers have been of tremendous help to researchers in the biological, physical and social sciences. Chemists and physicists rely on computers to control and check sensitive laboratory instruments and to analyze experimental data. Astronomers use computers to guide telescopes and to process photographic images of planets and other objects in space.

Computers can be used to compose music, write poems and produce drawings and paintings. A work generated by a computer may resemble that a certain artist in birth style and form, or it may appear abstract or random. Computers are also used in the study of the fine arts, particularly, literature. They have also been programmed to help scholars identify paintings and sculptures from ancient civilizations.

But computers do not have intelligence in the way humans do. They cannot think for themselves. What they are good at is carrying out arithmetical operations and making logical decisions at phenomenally fast speed. But they only do what humans program gives them to do.

Apart from the speed at which computers execute instruction, two developments in particular have contributed to the growth in the use of computers Ч efficient storage of large amounts of data and diminishing cost. Today, computers can store huge amount of information on magnetic media and any item of this information can be obtained in a few milliseconds and displayed or printed for the user.


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