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What does a computer do?

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Quick Answer

A computer uses a set of complex electronic circuitry to automatically carry out stored, programmed tasks and functions. Most of the computer's main work is performed in the central processing unit. Computers can perform a variety of functions or solve different types of problems because their application sequencing and algorithms can be readily changed.

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The CPU contains a control unit that houses electrical signals, but these signals are not executed by the control unit, Instead the work is delegated to other areas of the computer. The arithmetic/logic unit, which is housed in the CPU, is responsible for calculations and arithmetic operations.

Memory and storage is paramount to computer function, and memory cells store binary numbers containing data-specific information. The CPU is home to registry memory that can read and write quickly and launches executable files and programs and is most vulnerable to damage or viruses. A computer's main memory is random-access memory and read-only memory. RAM allows files to be read and rewritten, while ROM files never change.

A computer is a sophisticated board of circuitry but it does not work without human commands. The programmer or end user of a computer is responsible for how all of these component parts work together.

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