by Dinesh Thakur

During the last decade computers have become an integral part of our daily lives. There is hardly any activity which does not make use of computers at some stage or the other. Even when someone on a holiday wishes to call a friend using his/her cell phone, he/she is using computers indirectly as messages are handled and directed by them. Similarly, on any given day, even if we are not directly working on computers on our desks, we make use of computers many times while using a mobile or a land line phone, purchasing from a modem outlet, and other such activities. Facilities such as e-mail and web have become the life-line of our modem society as well as of the world of business.

Almost all the normal activities in present day society are controlled by computers including the functioning of offices, factories, research and development laboratories, along with development in the fields of teaching, sports, telecommunication, entertainment, etc. Activities that are closely linked with the developments in computer systems include weather forecasts, developments in science and technology, outer-space exploration, breakthroughs in medical sciences, and so on.

The term 'computer system' includes both the hardware and software. The hardware of a system consists of the physical components that are connected together to function as a computer. The working and functioning of a computer is governed by the software. All computers operate by carrying out the instructions contained in operating systems and other programs which comprise the software. The last decade has seen rapid development in computer hardware as well as software systems. As a result, the speed with which the present-day computers carry out instructions has increased tremendously. For instance, super computers are capable of carrying out trillions of instructions per second. At the same time, the costs of operations have reduced to a large extent. This has made it possible for a common man to possess a computer at home or office or shop in the form of a desktop or carry with him/her in the form of a laptop or a notebook while traveling. Modem desktops and laptops which a common person can now afford are much more powerful than the dream computers of a few top scientists of the world visualized just two decades ago.

Due to widespread applications and facilities associated with computers, everyone wants to possess them. Besides the computational facilities that a computer provides, one can also avail facilities such as reservation for train and air travel, payment of bills and taxes, filing of tax returns, watching a movie using a DVD or on the internet, chatting with your friends using video chat, conducting a conference between people sitting thousands of miles apart, ordering an essential drug, grocery or fore-shopping and e-selling, etc. Students can make use of internet knowledge sources such as e-tutorials and other e-leaming devices such as CDs and DVDs, and e-libraries, which greatly aid in garnering useful information and gathering study material. Because of these advantages computer has become an extremely essential tool for every student and is not necessarily restricted to students of computer science.