Symbols can be manipulated through machines known as computer systems, which are functional computers with all its hardware and software, made to help users achieve their goals, complete tasks and solve problems.
Computer systems can be categorized based on a variety of factors however on this post, I will use the size and the power of the computer systems to categorize this list.
Computer systems can be categorized as follows, from the largest and most powerful computer systems to the smallest and least powerful computer system we use today:
Supercomputer: Is a collection of computers, which are working together, to achieve optimum performance. In the 1960’s the world saw these computers in action, and people used them, in order to figure out weather patterns. Supercomputers are able to perform large amounts of complex calculations very fast, to push the boundaries on what a hardware can accomplish. Engineers and scientist use these computers, in order to perform large complex calculations, and crunch data and numbers.
Mainframes: Are computer systems, which were optimize to tackle the input/output problems, to be able to provide service to many users, without any interruptions. This computer system is able to support hundreds of users, at the same time, without any interruption. The computers connected to the mainframes, are only concerned with inputting and outputting data. The processing for the terminals, are done at a central location, in order for the mainframe to be flexible enough for all kinds of applications to perform their tasks, simultaneously.
Servers: are computer systems, which serve many users, at the same time, similar to mainframes; however, servers don’t concern themselves with the processing power, needed to serve these pages. Servers, are optimized for different purposes, such as the Internet for example, which is a collection of web pages saved somewhere on a web server and served to users who request them through a browser. Electronic data and applications, can be shared and stored on a networked server, by many users at the same time. Servers can also be classified into file servers, print servers, communications server, application server, database server and domain server.
Cloud Computing: is a computer system, which was developed, in order to provide computing services, such as applications, servers, databases, storage, networking and more over the internet. Users can use these computer systems to deliver software on demand, analyze data for patterns to make decisions and to store, back up and recover data. Based on the service that cloud provides, this computer system can also be categorized into: software as a service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a service (IaaS).
WorkStation: is a computer system, which has enhanced capabilities, to perform a specific group of tasks, such as scientific discoveries and game development. Through a more powerful processor and additional memory, workstations outperforms desktops computers, in accomplishing a special group of tasks. However, personal computers, which are connected to a server, can also be classified as a workstation.
Personal Computers: are used by a single individual, and could be a laptop or a desktop, which is used at home or at work. Personal computers are becoming very powerful, and soon will be able to replace workstations completely. Personal computers are very inexpensive, and are able to help users, perform very complex tasks.
Smartphones: are devices, which can be taken everywhere with the users, because they can run an array of applications, which can be valuable to user. Tasks such as finding locations on a map, can be performed on a smartphone, a user has to only know the address of that location. A smartphone has a touchscreen and can usually perform all of the tasks, which a personal computer can perform, such as sending and receiving email.
Microcontroller: this computer system is only concerned with performing one specific task, memory, a processor and input/output peripherals, which are programmable are all parts of a microcontroller.