# KS3 Computing/What is Computing

First of all, let us consider what a computer is...

## What is a computer?

[edit | edit source]It wasn’t until the early 1940s that electrical devices were first referred to as computers. Before that they referred to people who calculated things.

Over the years, a rough definition of a computer has evolved to this:

- It must take some sort of input.
- It must produce some sort of output.
- It must process information/data.
- It must have some sort of memory/storage.
- It must control what it does.

This is the universal model for conventional computing developed independently by John Von Neumann and Alan Turing.

Today computers are used in all aspects of our lives, from the cars we drive, to the banks we use, the games we plan, the machines we use at work, the online shopping we frequently now do and of course the way we communicate and socialize on our mobile phones.

Traditionally we saw computers as desktop machines in offices, in school and at home, but now we find them in all manner of devices, used in practically every aspect of the modern world. Even your washing machine at home has a 'mini-computer' inside!

## So... what is Computing?

[edit | edit source]Again we consider that the general term 'computing' means simply to carry out a mathematical calculation.

However in our modern society, where computers are integral to so many of our daily activities, the term Computing is more commonly used to describe the study of how computers and computer systems work and how they are constructed and programmed.