A computer is a programmable machine that receives input, stores and automatically manipulates data, and provides output in a useful format.
Although mechanical examples of computers have existed through much of recorded human history, the first electronic computers were developed in the mid-20th century (1940 - 1945). These were the size of a large room, consuming as much power as several hundred modern personal computers (PCs). Modern computers based on
integrated circuits are millions to billions of times more capable than the early
machines, and occupy a fraction of the space.
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Computer performance is characterized by the amount of useful work accomplished by a computer system compared to the time and resources used.
Depending on the context, good computer performance may involve one or more of the following:
Short response time for a given piece of work
High throughput (rate of processing work)
Low utilization of computing resource(s)
High availability of the computing system or application
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