Operations of a Computer System – Complete Article to Clear Concepts

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Operations of a computer system refer to those functions that a computer performs to accomplish a particular task for the user. Regardless of size and capacity, a computer system can perform four basic operations to meet users’ needs.

What are the four basic operations of a computer system?

Operations of a computer system are:

  • Input operation
  • Processing operation
  • Output operation
  • Storage Operation

We shall describe them one by one.

Input Operation

Accepting data for processing is termed an Input operation. Input devices perform this operation. Moreover, it is the first operation that a computer performs while accomplishing a task. The input may be a document’s text, voice, video, or image file. Different devices are available to accept a variety of data. The most commonly used input devices are:

  • The keyboard accepts text input (alphanumeric and other characters).
  • The mouse translates the movements of the user’s hand into the action of the cursor/pointer on the monitor screen.
  • The microphone detects voice input and makes it ready for computer use.
  • A scanner is a device that accepts/scans optical input, i.e., handwritten or printed text and images, to store them digitally in computer memory.

Besides these, many other devices, such as touch pens, touchpads, and joysticks, are available.

Processing Operation

It refers to performing arithmetic and logical operations on the data. Arithmetic operations are addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. In contrast, logical operations include a comparison of different values and decision-making.

The Arithmetic & Logic Unit (ALU) of the CPU performs both these operations (i.e., arithmetic and logical calculations), while the Control Unit of the CPU ensures its smooth flow. For this reason, the CPU is responsible for accomplishing the Processing Operation. Also, the CPU is responsible for all other operations.

Output Operation

Sending results to an output device is called Output Operation. This result may be a soft copy on the monitor’s screen or a hard copy of the text on the paper. Output devices of the computer perform this operation. The most commonly used output devices are:

  • The monitor offers softcopy output in digital form.
  • The printer exhibits the hard copy of the document on plain paper.
  • Speaker gives the audio output as direct sound waves.
  • Plotters provide large-sized hardcopy outputs. Moreover, we use them for various applications, such as drawing graphs, making maps, and producing large panaflexes.

Storage Operation

It refers to the writing data to a storage device such as a hard disk or USB flash drive. Besides them, a few other storage devices, such as magnetic tape, floppy CDs, DVDs, and Blu-ray disks, are available. However, we shall discuss them in a separate post because we aim to explain only the basic operations of a computer system right now.

Operations in Computer

A computer system accepts data, processes it, and produces output as helpful information. Since the input unit presents the data to the processor for processing, the data processing results are displayed on the monitor screen, printed on paper, or sent to other output or storage devices. In addition, we can retrieve this data from a storage device to perform different operations on the computer.

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