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Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating
computing machinery
computing machinery
. It includes the study and experimentation of
algorithm
algorithm
ic processes, and development of both hardware and
software
software
. Computing has scientific, engineering, mathematical, technological and social aspects. Major computing disciplines include computer engineering, computer science,
cybersecurity
cybersecurity
,
data science
data science
, information systems, information technology and software engineering. The term "computing" is also synonymous with counting and calculating. In earlier times, it was used in reference to the action performed by mechanical computing machines, and before that, to human computers.


History

The history of computing is longer than the history of computing hardware and includes the history of methods intended for pen and paper (or for chalk and slate) with or without the aid of tables. Computing is intimately tied to the representation of
number A number is a mathematical object used to count, measure, and label. The original examples are the natural numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, and so forth. Numbers can be represented in language with number words. More universally, individual numbers can ...

number
s, though mathematical concepts necessary for computing existed before numeral systems. The earliest known tool for use in computation is the
abacus
abacus
, and it is thought to have been invented in
Babylon
Babylon
circa between 2700–2300 BC. Abaci, of a more modern design, are still used as calculation tools today. The first recorded proposal for using digital electronics in computing was the 1931 paper "The Use of Thyratrons for High Speed Automatic Counting of Physical Phenomena" by C. E. Wynn-Williams. Claude Shannon's 1938 paper " A Symbolic Analysis of Relay and Switching Circuits" then introduced the idea of using electronics for Boolean algebraic operations. The concept of a field-effect transistor was proposed by Julius Edgar Lilienfeld in 1925. John Bardeen and Walter Brattain, while working under William Shockley at Bell Labs, built the first working
transistor
transistor
, the point-contact transistor, in 1947. In 1953, the
University of Manchester
University of Manchester
built the first transistorized computer, the Manchester Baby. However, early junction transistors were relatively bulky devices that were difficult to mass-produce, which limited them to a number of specialised applications. The
metal–oxide–silicon field-effect transistor
metal–oxide–silicon field-effect transistor
(MOSFET, or MOS transistor) was invented by Mohamed Atalla and
Dawon Kahng
Dawon Kahng
at Bell Labs in 1959. The MOSFET made it possible to build high-density integrated circuits, leading to what is known as the computer revolution or microcomputer revolution.


Computer

A computer is a
machine
machine
that manipulates data according to a set of instructions called a computer program. The program has an executable form that the computer can use directly to execute the instructions. The same program in its human-readable source code form, enables a programmer to study and develop a sequence of steps known as an
algorithm
algorithm
. Because the instructions can be carried out in different types of computers, a single set of source instructions converts to machine instructions according to the
CPU
CPU
type. The execution process carries out the instructions in a computer program. Instructions express the computations performed by the computer. They trigger sequences of simple actions on the executing machine. Those actions produce effects according to the semantics of the instructions.


Computer hardware

Computer hardware includes the physical parts of a computer, including
central processing unit
central processing unit
, memory and input/output. Computational logic and computer architecture are key topics in the field of computer hardware.


Computer software

Computer software, or just "software", is a collection of computer programs and related
data
data
, which provides instructions to a
computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations (computation) automatically. Modern digital electronic computers can perform generic sets of operations known as Computer program, pr ...

computer
. Software refers to one or more computer programs and data held in the storage of the computer. It is a set of ''programs, procedures, algorithms,'' as well as its ''documentation'' concerned with the operation of a data processing system. Program software performs the function of the program it implements, either by directly providing instructions to the computer hardware or by serving as input to another piece of software. The
term
term
was coined to contrast with the old term ''
hardware
hardware
'' (meaning physical devices). In contrast to hardware, software is intangible. Software is also sometimes used in a more narrow sense, meaning application software only.


System software

System software, or systems software, is computer software designed to operate and control computer hardware, and to provide a platform for running application software. System software includes
operating system
operating system
s, utility software, device drivers, window systems, and firmware. Frequently used development tools such as
compiler
compiler
s, linkers, and
debuggers
debuggers
are classified as system software. System software and middleware manage and integrate a computer's capabilities, but typically do not directly apply them in the performance of tasks that benefit the user, unlike application software.


Application software

Application software, also known as an "application" or an "app", is computer software designed to help the user perform specific tasks. Examples include enterprise software, accounting software, office suites, graphics software and media players. Many application programs deal principally with documents. Apps may be bundled with the computer and its system software, or may be published separately. Some users are satisfied with the bundled apps and need never install additional applications. The system software manages the hardware and serves the application, which in turn serves the user. Application software applies the power of a particular computing platform or system software to a particular purpose. Some apps, such as Microsoft Office, are developed in multiple versions for several different platforms; others have narrower requirements and are generally referred to by the platform they run on. For example, a "
geography Geography (from Ancient Greek, Greek: , ''geographia''. Combination of Greek words ‘Geo’ (The Earth) and ‘Graphien’ (to describe), literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, i ...
application for
Windows Windows is a group of several Proprietary software, proprietary graphical user interface, graphical operating system families developed and marketed by Microsoft. Each family caters to a certain sector of the computing industry. For example, W ...
" or an " Android application for
education Education is a purposeful activity directed at achieving certain aims, such as transmitting knowledge or fostering skills and character traits. These aims may include the development of understanding, rationality, kindness, and honesty ...
" or " Linux gaming". Applications that run only on one platform and increase the desirability of that platform due to the popularity of the application, known as killer applications.


Computer network

A computer network, often simply referred to as a network, is a collection of hardware components and computers interconnected by communication channels that allow sharing of resources and information. When at least one process in one device is able to send or receive data to or from at least one process residing in a remote device, the two devices are said to be in a network. Networks may be classified according to a wide variety of characteristics such as the medium used to transport the data,
communications protocol A communication protocol is a system of rules that allows two or more entities of a communications system to transmit information via any kind of variation of a physical quantity. The protocol defines the rules, syntax, semantics (computer scien ...
used, scale,
topology In mathematics, topology (from the Greek language, Greek words , and ) is concerned with the properties of a mathematical object, geometric object that are preserved under Continuous function, continuous Deformation theory, deformations, such ...
, and organizational scope.
Communications protocol A communication protocol is a system of rules that allows two or more entities of a communications system to transmit information via any kind of variation of a physical quantity. The protocol defines the rules, syntax, semantics (computer scien ...
s define the rules and data formats for exchanging information in a computer network, and provide the basis for network programming. One well-known communications protocol is
Ethernet Ethernet () is a family of wired computer networking technologies commonly used in local area networks (LAN), metropolitan area networks (MAN) and wide area networks (WAN). It was commercially introduced in 1980 and first standardized in 198 ...
, a hardware and link layer standard that is ubiquitous in
local area network A local area network (LAN) is a computer network that interconnects computers within a limited area such as a residence, school, laboratory, university campus or office building. By contrast, a wide area network (WAN) not only covers a larger ...
s. Another common protocol is the
Internet Protocol Suite The Internet protocol suite, commonly known as TCP/IP, is a framework for organizing the set of communication protocols used in the Internet and similar computer networks according to functional criteria. The foundational protocols in the suit ...
, which defines a set of protocols for internetworking, i.e. for data communication between multiple networks, host-to-host data transfer, and application-specific data transmission formats. Computer networking is sometimes considered a sub-discipline of
electrical engineering Electrical engineering is an engineering discipline concerned with the study, design, and application of equipment, devices, and systems which use electricity, electronics, and electromagnetism. It emerged as an identifiable occupation in the l ...
,
telecommunications Telecommunication is the transmission of information by various types of technologies over wire, radio Radio is the technology of signaling and telecommunication, communicating using radio waves. Radio waves are electromagnetic waves of ...
, computer science, information technology or computer engineering, since it relies upon the theoretical and practical application of these disciplines.


Internet

The Internet is a global system of interconnected
computer network A computer network is a set of computers sharing resources located on or provided by Node (networking), network nodes. The computers use common communication protocols over digital signal, digital interconnections to communicate with each ot ...
s that use the standard
Internet Protocol Suite The Internet protocol suite, commonly known as TCP/IP, is a framework for organizing the set of communication protocols used in the Internet and similar computer networks according to functional criteria. The foundational protocols in the suit ...
(TCP/IP) to serve billions of users. This includes millions of private, public, academic, business, and government networks, ranging in scope from local to global. These networks are linked by a broad array of electronic, wireless and optical networking technologies. The Internet carries an extensive range of
information Information is an Abstraction, abstract concept that refers to that which has the power to Communication, inform. At the most fundamental level information pertains to the Interpretation (logic), interpretation of that which may be sensed. ...
resources and services, such as the inter-linked
hypertext Hypertext is text displayed on a computer display or other electronic devices with references ( hyperlinks) to other text that the reader can immediately access. Hypertext documents are interconnected by hyperlinks, which are typicall ...
documents of the
World Wide Web The World Wide Web (WWW), commonly known as the Web, is an information system enabling documents and other web resources to be accessed over the Internet. Documents and downloadable media are made available to the network through web se ...
and the
infrastructure Infrastructure is the set of facilities and systems that serve a country, city, or other area, and encompasses the services and facilities necessary for its economy, households and firms to function. Infrastructure is composed of public and priv ...
to support
email Electronic mail (email or e-mail) is a method of exchanging messages ("mail") between people using electronic devices. Email was thus conceived as the electronics, electronic (digital media, digital) version of, or counterpart to, mail, ...
.


Computer programming

Computer programming is the process of writing, testing, debugging, and maintaining the source code and documentation of computer programs. This source code is written in a
programming language A programming language is a system of notation for writing computer program, computer programs. Most programming languages are text-based formal languages, but they may also be visual programming language, graphical. They are a kind of computer ...
, which is an
artificial language Artificial languages are languages of a typically very limited size which emerge either in computer simulations between artificial agents, robot interactions or controlled psychological experiments with humans. They are different from both constr ...
that is often more restrictive than
natural language In neuropsychology, linguistics, and philosophy of language, a natural language or ordinary language is any language that has linguistic evolution, evolved naturally in humans through use and repetition without conscious planning or premeditati ...
s, but easily translated by the computer. Programming is used to invoke some desired behavior (customization) from the machine. Writing high quality source code requires knowledge of both the computer science domain and the domain in which the application will be used. The highest-quality software is thus often developed by a team of domain experts, each a specialist in some area of development. However, the term ''programmer'' may apply to a range of program quality, from
hacker A hacker is a person skilled in information technology who uses their technical knowledge to achieve a goal or overcome an obstacle, within a computerized system by non-standard means. Though the term ''hacker'' has become associated in popu ...
to open source contributor to professional. It is also possible for a single programmer to do most or all of the computer programming needed to generate the
proof of concept Proof of concept (POC or PoC), also known as proof of principle, is a realization of a certain method or idea in order to demonstrate its feasibility study, feasibility, or a demonstration in principle with the aim of verifying that some concept ...
to launch a new "killer" application.


Computer programmer

A programmer, computer programmer, or coder is a person who writes computer software. The term "computer programmer" can refer to a specialist in one area of
computer programming Computer programming is the process of performing a particular computation (or more generally, accomplishing a specific computing result), usually by designing and building an executable computer program. Programming involves tasks such as anal ...
or to a generalist who writes code for many kinds of software. One who practices or professes a formal approach to programming may also be known as a programmer analyst. A programmer's primary computer language ( C, C++,
Java Java (; id, Jawa, ; jv, ꦗꦮ; su, ) is one of the Greater Sunda Islands in Indonesia. It is bordered by the Indian Ocean to the south and the Java Sea to the north. With a population of 151.6 million people, Java is the world's List ...
,
Lisp A lisp is a speech impairment in which a person misarticulates sibilants (, , , , , , , ). These misarticulations often result in unclear speech. Types * A frontal lisp occurs when the tongue is placed anterior to the target. Interdental lisping ...
, Python etc.) is often prefixed to the above titles, and those who work in a web environment often prefix their titles with "Web". The term "programmer" can be used to refer to a
software developer Software development is the process of conceiving, specifying, designing, Computer programming, programming, software documentation, documenting, software testing, testing, and Software bugs, bug fixing involved in creating and maintaining applic ...
, software engineer,
computer scientist A computer scientist is a person who is trained in the academic study of computer science. Computer scientists typically work on the theoretical side of computation, as opposed to the computer hardware, hardware side on which computer engineer ...
, or software analyst. However, members of these
profession A profession is a field of work that has been successfully '' professionalized''. It can be defined as a disciplined group of individuals, '' professionals'', who adhere to ethical standards and who hold themselves out as, and are accepted b ...
s typically possess other software engineering skills, beyond programming.


Computer industry

The computer industry is made up of businesses involved in developing computer software, designing
computer hardware Computer hardware includes the physical parts of a computer, such as the computer case, case, central processing unit (CPU), Random-access memory, random access memory (RAM), Computer monitor, monitor, Computer mouse, mouse, Computer keyboard, ...
and
computer networking A computer network is a set of computers sharing resources located on or provided by Node (networking), network nodes. The computers use common communication protocols over digital signal, digital interconnections to communicate with each ot ...
infrastructures, manufacturing
computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations (computation) automatically. Modern digital electronic computers can perform generic sets of operations known as Computer program, pr ...

computer
components and providing information technology services, including
system administration A system administrator, or sysadmin, or admin is a person who is responsible for the upkeep, configuration, and reliable operation of computer systems, especially multi-user computers, such as Server (computing), servers. The system administ ...
and maintenance. The software industry includes businesses engaged in development, maintenance and
publication To publish is to make content available to the general public.Berne Con ...
of
software
software
. The industry also includes software
service Service may refer to: Activities * Administrative service, a required part of the workload of university faculty * Civil service, the body of employees of a government * Community service, volunteer service for the benefit of a community or a ...
s, such as
training Training is teaching, or developing in oneself or others, any skills and knowledge or fitness that relate to specific useful competencies. Training has specific goals of improving one's capability, capacity, productivity and performanc ...
,
documentation Documentation is any communicable material that is used to describe, explain or instruct regarding some attributes of an object, system or procedure, such as its parts, assembly, installation, maintenance and use. As a form of knowledge manageme ...
, and
consulting A consultant (from la, consultare "to deliberate") is a professional (also known as ''expert'', ''specialist'', see variations of meaning below) who provides advice and other purposeful activities in an area of specialization. Consulting servic ...
.


Sub-disciplines of computing


Computer engineering

Computer engineering is a
discipline Discipline refers to rule following behavior, to regulate, order, control and authority. It may also refer to punishment. Discipline is used to create habits, routines, and automatic mechanisms such as blind obedience. It may be inflicted on ot ...
that integrates several fields of
electrical engineering Electrical engineering is an engineering discipline concerned with the study, design, and application of equipment, devices, and systems which use electricity, electronics, and electromagnetism. It emerged as an identifiable occupation in the l ...
and computer science required to develop computer hardware and software. Computer engineers usually have training in
electronic engineering Electronics engineering is a sub-discipline of electrical engineering which emerged in the early 20th century and is distinguished by the additional use of active components such as semiconductor devices to amplify and control electric current ...
(or
electrical engineering Electrical engineering is an engineering discipline concerned with the study, design, and application of equipment, devices, and systems which use electricity, electronics, and electromagnetism. It emerged as an identifiable occupation in the l ...
), software design, and hardware-software integration, rather than just software engineering or electronic engineering. Computer engineers are involved in many hardware and software aspects of computing, from the design of individual
microprocessor A microprocessor is a computer processor where the data processing logic and control is included on a single integrated circuit, or a small number of integrated circuits. The microprocessor contains the arithmetic, logic, and control circu ...
s,
personal computer A personal computer (PC) is a multi-purpose microcomputer whose size, capabilities, and price make it feasible for individual use. Personal computers are intended to be operated directly by an end user, rather than by a computer expert or techn ...
s, and
supercomputer A supercomputer is a computer with a high level of performance as compared to a general-purpose computer. The performance of a supercomputer is commonly measured in floating-point operations per second (FLOPS) instead of million instructions p ...
s, to circuit design. This field of engineering includes not only the design of hardware within its own domain, but also the interactions between hardware and the context in which it operates.


Software engineering

Software engineering (SE) is the application of a systematic, disciplined and quantifiable approach to the design, development, operation, and maintenance of
software
software
, and the study of these approaches. That is, the application of
engineering Engineering is the use of scientific principles to design and build machines, structures, and other items, including bridges, tunnels, roads, vehicles, and buildings. The discipline of engineering encompasses a broad range of more specializ ...
to software. It is the act of using insights to conceive, model and scale a solution to a problem. The first reference to the term is the 1968 NATO Software Engineering Conference, and was intended to provoke thought regarding the perceived " software crisis" at the time.
Software development Software development is the process of conceiving, specifying, designing, Computer programming, programming, software documentation, documenting, software testing, testing, and Software bugs, bug fixing involved in creating and maintaining applic ...
, a widely-used and more generic term, does not necessarily subsume the engineering paradigm. The generally accepted concepts of Software Engineering as an engineering discipline have been specified in the Guide to the Software Engineering Body of Knowledge (SWEBOK). The SWEBOK has become an internationally accepted standard in ISO/IEC TR 19759:2015.


Computer science

Computer science or computing science (abbreviated CS or Comp Sci) is the
scientific Science is a systematic endeavor that Scientific method, builds and organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations and predictions about the universe. Science may be as old as the human species, and some of the earli ...
and practical approach to
computation Computation is any type of arithmetic or non-arithmetic calculation that follows a well-defined model (e.g., an algorithm). Mechanical or electronic devices (or, History of computing hardware, historically, people) that perform computations are ...
and its applications. A
computer scientist A computer scientist is a person who is trained in the academic study of computer science. Computer scientists typically work on the theoretical side of computation, as opposed to the computer hardware, hardware side on which computer engineer ...
specializes in the theory of computation and the design of computational systems. Its subfields can be divided into practical techniques for its implementation and application in
computer system A computer is a machine that can be programmed to Execution (computing), carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations (computation) automatically. Modern digital electronic computers can perform generic sets of operations known as C ...
s, and purely theoretical areas. Some, such as
computational complexity theory In theoretical computer science and mathematics, computational complexity theory focuses on classifying computational problems according to their resource usage, and relating these classes to each other. A computational problem is a task solved by ...
, which studies fundamental properties of
computational problem In theoretical computer science, a computational problem is a problem that may be solved by an algorithm. For example, the problem of factoring :"Given a positive integer ''n'', find a nontrivial prime factor of ''n''." is a computational probl ...
s, are highly abstract, while others, such as
computer graphics Computer graphics deals with generating images with the aid of computers. Today, computer graphics is a core technology in digital photography, film, video games, cell phone and computer displays, and many specialized applications. A great deal ...
, emphasize real-world applications. Others focus on the challenges in implementing computations. For example,
programming language theory Programming language theory (PLT) is a branch of computer science that deals with the design, implementation, analysis, characterization, and classification of formal languages known as programming languages. Programming language theory is clos ...
studies approaches to description of computations, while the study of
computer programming Computer programming is the process of performing a particular computation (or more generally, accomplishing a specific computing result), usually by designing and building an executable computer program. Programming involves tasks such as anal ...
investigates the use of
programming language A programming language is a system of notation for writing computer program, computer programs. Most programming languages are text-based formal languages, but they may also be visual programming language, graphical. They are a kind of computer ...
s and
complex systems A complex system is a system composed of many components which may interaction, interact with each other. Examples of complex systems are Earth's global climate, organisms, the human brain, infrastructure such as power grid, transportation or com ...
. The field of
human–computer interaction Human–computer interaction (HCI) is research in the design and the use of computer technology, which focuses on the interfaces between people ( users) and computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences ...
focuses on the challenges in making computers and computations useful, usable, and universally accessible to
human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species of primate, characterized by bipedality, bipedalism and exceptional cognitive skills due to a large and complex Human brain, brain. This has enabled the development of ad ...
s.


Cybersecurity

The field of cybersecurity pertains to the protection of computer systems and networks. This includes information and data privacy, preventing disruption of IT services and prevention of theft of and damage to hardware, software and data.


Data science

Data science is a field that uses scientific and computing tools to extract information and insights from data, driven by the increasing volume and availability of data. Data mining,
big data Though used sometimes loosely partly because of a lack of formal definition, the interpretation that seems to best describe Big data is the one associated with large body of information that we could not comprehend when used only in smaller am ...
,
statistics Statistics (from German language, German: ''wikt:Statistik#German, Statistik'', "description of a State (polity), state, a country") is the discipline that concerns the collection, organization, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of ...
and
machine learning Machine learning (ML) is a field of inquiry devoted to understanding and building methods that 'learn', that is, methods that leverage data to improve performance on some set of tasks. It is seen as a part of artificial intelligence. Machine ...
are all interwoven with data science.


Information systems

Information systems (IS) is the study of complementary networks of hardware and software (see information technology) that people and organizations use to collect, filter, process, create, and distribute
data In the pursuit of knowledge, data (; ) is a collection of discrete values that convey information, describing quantity, quality, fact, statistics, other basic units of meaning, or simply sequences of symbols that may be further interp ...
. The ACM's ''Computing Careers'' describes IS as: The study of IS bridges
business Business is the practice of making one's living or making money by producing or Trade, buying and selling Product (business), products (such as goods and Service (economics), services). It is also "any activity or enterprise entered into for pr ...
and computer science, using the theoretical foundations of
information Information is an Abstraction, abstract concept that refers to that which has the power to Communication, inform. At the most fundamental level information pertains to the Interpretation (logic), interpretation of that which may be sensed. ...
and
computation Computation is any type of arithmetic or non-arithmetic calculation that follows a well-defined model (e.g., an algorithm). Mechanical or electronic devices (or, History of computing hardware, historically, people) that perform computations are ...
to study various business models and related
algorithm
algorithm
ic processes within a computer science discipline. The field of Computer Information Systems (CIS) studies computers and algorithmic processes, including their principles, their software and hardware designs, their applications, and their impact on society while IS emphasizes functionality over design.


Information technology

Information technology (IT) is the application of
computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations (computation) automatically. Modern digital electronic computers can perform generic sets of operations known as Computer program, pr ...

computer
s and
telecommunications equipment Telecommunications equipment (also telecoms equipment or communications equipment) are hardware which are used for the purposes of telecommunications. Since the 1990s the boundary between telecoms equipment and IT hardware has become blurred as a ...
to store, retrieve, transmit and manipulate data, often in the context of a business or other enterprise. The term is commonly used as a synonym for computers and computer networks, but also encompasses other information distribution technologies such as television and telephones. Several industries are associated with information technology, including
computer hardware Computer hardware includes the physical parts of a computer, such as the computer case, case, central processing unit (CPU), Random-access memory, random access memory (RAM), Computer monitor, monitor, Computer mouse, mouse, Computer keyboard, ...
,
software
software
,
electronics The field of electronics is a branch of physics and electrical engineering that deals with the emission, behaviour and effects of electrons using Electronic component, electronic devices. Electronics uses Passivity (engineering), active devices ...
,
semiconductor A semiconductor is a material which has an electrical resistivity and conductivity, electrical conductivity value falling between that of a electrical conductor, conductor, such as copper, and an insulator (electricity), insulator, such as glas ...
s,
internet The Internet (or internet) is the global system of interconnected computer networks that uses the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to communicate between networks and devices. It is a '' network of networks'' that consists of private, p ...
, telecom equipment,
e-commerce E-commerce (electronic commerce) is the activity of electronically buying or selling of Product (business), products on online services or over the Internet. E-commerce draws on technologies such as mobile commerce, electronic funds transfer, su ...
and computer services. On the later more broad application of the term IT, Keary comments- "In its original application 'information technology' was appropriate to describe the convergence of technologies with application in the broad field of data storage, retrieval, processing, and dissemination. This useful conceptual term has since been converted to what purports to be concrete use, but without the reinforcement of definition...the term IT lacks substance when applied to the name of any function, discipline, or position." .


Research and emerging technologies

DNA-based computing and
quantum computing Quantum computing is a type of computation whose operations can harness the phenomena of quantum mechanics, such as quantum superposition, superposition, Wave interference#Quantum interference, interference, and quantum entanglement, entanglement ...
are areas of active research for both computing hardware and software, such as the development of
quantum algorithm In quantum computing, a quantum algorithm is an algorithm which runs on a realistic model of quantum computation, the most commonly used model being the quantum circuit model of computation. A classical (or non-quantum) algorithm is a finite sequ ...
s. Potential infrastructure for future technologies includes DNA origami on photolithography and quantum antennae for transferring information between ion traps. By 2011, researchers had entangled 14 qubits. Fast
digital circuit In theoretical computer science, a circuit is a model of computation in which input values proceed through a sequence of gates, each of which computes a function (computer science), function. Circuits of this kind provide a generalization of Boolean ...
s, including those based on Josephson junctions and rapid single flux quantum technology, are becoming more nearly realizable with the discovery of nanoscale superconductors. Fiber-optic and photonic (optical) devices, which already have been used to transport data over long distances, are starting to be used by data centers, along with CPU and semiconductor memory components. This allows the separation of RAM from CPU by optical interconnects. IBM has created an
integrated circuit An integrated circuit or monolithic integrated circuit (also referred to as an IC, a chip, or a microchip) is a set of electronic circuits on one small flat piece (or "chip") of semiconductor material, usually silicon. Large numbers of ti ...
with both electronic and optical information processing in one chip. This is denoted "CMOS-integrated nanophotonics" or (CINP). One benefit of optical interconnects is that motherboards, which formerly required a certain kind of system on a chip (SoC), can now move formerly dedicated memory and network controllers off the motherboards, spreading the controllers out onto the rack. This allows standardization of backplane interconnects and motherboards for multiple types of SoCs, which allows more timely upgrades of CPUs. Another field of research is spintronics. Spintronics can provide computing power and storage, without heat buildup. Some research is being done on hybrid chips, which combine
photonics Photonics is a branch of optics that involves the application of generation, detection, and manipulation of light in form of photons through Emission (electromagnetic radiation), emission, Transmission (telecommunications), transmission, modulat ...
and spintronics. There is also research ongoing on combining
plasmonics Plasmonics or nanoplasmonics refers to the generation, detection, and manipulation of signals at optical frequencies along metal-dielectric interfaces in the nanometer scale. Inspired by photonics Photonics is a branch of optics that involves ...
, photonics, and electronics.


Cloud computing

Cloud computing is a model that allows for the use of computing resources, such as servers or applications, without the need for interaction between the owner of these resources and the end user. It is typically offered as a service, making it an example of
Software as a Service Software as a service (SaaS ) is a software licensing and software delivery, delivery model in which software is licensed on a subscription basis and is centrally Internet hosting service, hosted. SaaS is also known as "on-demand software" and We ...
, Platforms as a Service, and Infrastructure as a Service, depending on the functionality offered. Key characteristics include on-demand access, broad network access, and the capability of rapid scaling. It allows individual users or small business to benefit from
economies of scale In microeconomics, economies of scale are the cost advantages that enterprises obtain due to their scale of operation, and are typically measured by the amount of Productivity, output produced per unit of time. A decrease in unit cost, cost per u ...
. One area of interest in this field is its potential to support energy efficiency. Allowing thousands of instances of computation to occur on one single machine instead of thousands of individual machines could help save energy. It could also ease the transition to renewable energy source, since it would suffice to power one server farm with renewable energy, rather than millions of homes and offices. However, this centralized computing model poses several challenges, especially in security and privacy. Current legislation does not sufficiently protect users from companies mishandling their data on company servers. This suggests potential for further legislative regulations on cloud computing and tech companies.


Quantum computing

Quantum computing Quantum computing is a type of computation whose operations can harness the phenomena of quantum mechanics, such as quantum superposition, superposition, Wave interference#Quantum interference, interference, and quantum entanglement, entanglement ...
is an area of research that brings together the disciplines of computer science, information theory, and quantum physics. While the idea of information as part of physics is relatively new, there appears to be a strong tie between information theory and quantum mechanics. Whereas traditional computing operates on a binary system of ones and zeros, quantum computing uses qubits. Qubits are capable of being in a superposition, i.e. in both states of one and zero, simultaneously. Thus, the value of the qubit is not between 1 and 0, but changes depending on when it is measured. This trait of qubits is known as
quantum entanglement Quantum entanglement is the phenomenon that occurs when a group of particles are generated, interact, or share spatial proximity in a way such that the quantum state of each particle of the group cannot be described independently of the state of ...
, and is the core idea of quantum computing that allows quantum computers to do large scale computations. Quantum computing is often used for scientific research in cases where traditional computers do not have the computing power to do the necessary calculations, such in molecular modeling. Large molecules and their reactions are far too complex for traditional computers to calculate, but the computational power of quantum computers could provide a tool to perform such calculations.


See also

* Computational thinking * Creative computing * Electronic data processing * Enthusiast computing * Index of history of computing articles *
Instruction set architecture In computer science, an instruction set architecture (ISA), also called computer architecture, is an abstract model of a computer. A device that executes instructions described by that ISA, such as a central processing unit (CPU), is called an ' ...
* Lehmer sieve * List of computer term etymologies *
Mobile computing Mobile computing is human–computer interaction in which a computer is expected to be transported during normal usage, which allows for the transmission of data, voice, and video. Mobile computing involves mobile communication, mobile hardware ...
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Scientific computing Computational science, also known as scientific computing or scientific computation (SC), is a field in mathematics that uses advanced computing capabilities to understand and solve complex problems. It is an area of science that spans many disc ...


References


External links

* FOLDOC: the Free On-Line Dictionary Of Computing {{Computer science