Special-purpose computers refer to computers that are built to perform specific tasks, such as automatic teller machines or washing machines. Special-purpose computers also include systems to control military planes, boats, surveillance equipment and other defense-oriented applications. They utilize unique operating systems that are tailored to performing their specific functions.
Other examples of special purpose computers include traffic-light control systems, weather-forecasting simulators, oil-exploration systems and traffic-control computers. These computer systems share similar features, but their design aims to fulfill a distinct role.
They perform a singular function, allowing them to eliminate excess memory and the amount of information that can be submitted into it. This allows special-purpose computers to operate at heightened speeds to complete their task.
Special-purpose computers come in a variety of forms. The earliest models focused solely on word processing or stand-alone data processing features. These types of computers differ greatly from commercial models that offer a variety of applications, such as Internet browsing, word processing, spreadsheet creation, e-mail and gaming.
Special-purpose computers possess a logical structure and data input-output devices that are built to solve strictly-defined issues in an efficient manner. Special-purpose computers utilize embedded systems or other unique operating platforms to work independently of other functions.