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A very familiar definition that we learned in childhood that it’s an electronic machine which stores, computes and manipulates data but now it’s time to know what a computer is in a specific, contemporary sense. Personal computers are found in most aspects of daily life, and for some it is hard to even imagine a world without them. But the term computer means more than simply the Macs and PCs we are familiar with. A computer is, at its most basic, a machine which can take instructions, and perform computations based on those instructions.

It is the ability to take instructions — often known as programs in the parlance of computers — and execute them that distinguishes a computer from a mechanical calculator. While both are able to make computations, a calculator responds simply to immediate input. In fact, most modern calculators are actually computers, with a number of pre-installed programs to help aid in complex tasks.
Computers range from the very small to the very large. Some are capable of doing millions of calculations in a single second, while others may take long periods of time to do even the most simple calculations. But theoretically, anything one computer is capable of doing; another computer will also be able to do. Given the right instructions, and sufficient memory, a computer found in a wristwatch should be able to accomplish anything a supercomputer can — although it might take thousands of years for the wristwatch to complete the operation.