This section includes those terms that are descriptive of computers in general.

A digital computer is an automatic, programmable, data processor. Every part of this definition is crucial to our understanding of what the modern computer is, and how it works.

Automatic means simply that it operates without human intervention, except where this is expressly preplanned and provided for. This feature alone distinguishes the computer from the simple pocket calculator, where each computation results from a manual key press.

Programmable means that the instructions to be followed automatically are held (as a ‘program’) within the store of the computer. If a repetitive calculation (a ‘loop’) is necessary, the same instructions can ...

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