" A machine that can be programmed to manipulate symbols. Computers can perform complex and repetative procedures quickly, precisely and reliably and can quickly store and retrieve large amounts of data. The physical components from which a computer is constructed (electronic circuits and input/output devices) are known as "hardware". Most computers have four types of hardware component: CPU, input, output and memory. The CPU (central processing unit) executes programs ("software") which tell the computer what to do. Input and output (I/O) devices allow the computer to communicate with the user and the outside world. There are several kinds of memory - fast, expensive, short term memory (e.g. RAM) to hold intermediate results, and slower, cheaper, long-term memory (e.g. magnetic disk and magnetic tape) to hold programs and data between jobs. "

Analogue computer:
"A machine or electronic circuit designed to work on numerical data represented by some physical quantity (e.g. rotation or displacement) or electrical quantity (e.g. voltage or charge) which varies continuously, in contrast to digital signals which are either 0 or 1. For example, the turning of a wheel or changes in voltage can be used as input. Analogue computers are said to operate in real time and are used for research in design where many different shapes and speeds can be tried out quickly. A computer model of a car suspension allows the designer to see the effects of changing size, stiffness and damping. "

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