Advantages in Using a Computer

Why using and what are the advantages in using a computer to do certain tasks?

1 - Introduction

A computer is an electronic device that store, process and display information and data in a form that is easily understood and has practical use. The main characteristics of a computer are the very high speed with which calculations and processes are carried out and also the very large amount of information and data that may be stored in a relatively small spaces called memory.

2 - Speed of Computing

One of the main advantages in using computers is the possibility that a task that may take longer to do by hand may be done in a shorter period of time using a computer. Computers are designed to do tasks much faster and more accurately than humans. Numerical computations, creation and editing of documents, data organization and presentation, graphics are examples of tasks that are done efficiently when computers are used.

3 - Efficiency and Productivity

It is perhaps easy to explain the efficiency of computers in comparing documents produced using a typewriter and a word processor (on a computer). Using a word processing makes it easy to make changes to letters, words, chapters or entire documents. There are possibilities to spell check words and therefore make changes. Deleting and inserting letters, words and paragraphs is done without leaving a trace. When all necessary changes are made, files may be saved, printed, edited as many times as is necessary, sent by e-mail to someone else in another continent within minutes. When using a typewriter, a simple typing error would be time consuming to fix.
Several recent studies have shown a substantial increase in productivity due to the use of computers.

4 - Data Storage

Computer storage or memory is measured in bytes. A byte correspond to 8 bits (binary digit). For example it takes 1 byte (or 8 bits) to represent (store) a character of the alphabet. A page of a book with 80 characters per line and 40 lines per page would need 80 * 40 = 3200 bytes of storage or 3 Kilobytes (1 Kilobyte = 1024 bytes).
A book of 400 pages would need on average 400 * 3 Kilobytes = 1.2 Megabytes (1 megabyte = 1000 Kilobytes)
What does all this mean in practical terms?

Example 1

A CD has a storage capacity of 600 Megabytes and therefore can hold the contents of 600 / 1.2 = 500. Yes 500 books in one CD!.

Example 2

A DVD has a storage capacity of 4.7 Gigabytes (1 Gigabyte = 1000 Megabytes) and can therefore hold 4,700 / 1.2 = 4,000 (approximately) books.

Example 3 (year 2917)

A flash drive can now go up to 1 Terabytes (1 Terabyte = 1000 Gigabytes = 1000,000 Megabytes) and can therefore hold 1000,000 / 1.2 = 800,000 (approximately) books. Now think about how much space and how much does it cost to store 100,000 books!