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Computer Operations

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The six basic computer operations are:

  • Receiving information
  • Putting out information
  • Performing arithmetic operations
  • Assigning values to a variable or a memory location
  • Comparing two variables and choosing one of the two options
  • Repeating a group of actions

Each of the mentioned operation is explained below.

Receiving information

A computer can receive information from other sources or appliances such as keyboards, modems, scanners. Computers receive such information when a device is connected to a computer for the purpose of sending information. Some devices can act as both input as well as output devices. In a computer program this operation will form part of the program input (Burgin, 2005).

Putting out information

This operation involves sending information to other sources using devices like modems and printers which act as both input as well as output devices.  A simple example of this operation is sending a text message from a cell phone.  In a computer program this operation will form part of the program output (Burgin, 2005).

Performing arithmetic operations

This is the ability of the computer to perform calculations or mathematics. Computers usually perform calculations for simple problems after the programmers write the mathematical operations for them. In a computer program this operation will form part of the program processing component (Burgin, 2005).

Assigning values to a variable or a memory location

This involves storage of data or results of an operation in the memory of the computer.  The computer assigns a particular to a memory location. When a new program is installed into the computer, it is stored to a memory location selected by the user or the computer.  In a computer program this operation will form part of the program processing component (Campagnolo et al, 2000)

Comparing two variables and choosing one of the two options

This operation involves comparing two variables by following the commands provided in the program. A variable is a location in the computer memory where information is stored. A computer is able to decode commands into the respective action and select the desired option by comparing data provided for the two options. In a computer program this operation will form part of the program processing component (Burgin, 2005).

Repeating a group of actions

Computers are able to repeat several actions identified by a group and process data. The computer can thus repeat the whole group of actions through a series of steps. The computer will use the information provided by the input devices to perform this operation and create the output (Campagnolo et al, 2000)

Solving Problems

There are various methods of problem recognition and problem solving that involve computer operations. The method of developing a suitable solution to a problem will normally be dictated by the type of problem and will normally begin with collection of data relating to the problem. Most of the problems are identified whenever a need arises in the use of computers (Fennel, 2010).

Method to a problem in a main system

The problem is identified when the main system is not functioning as expected. A method to assess a problem in  the main system consisting of a database, servers- both application front-end server and performs actions in cooperation with the user will involve first gathering the data concerning the problem and reporting any information concerning it to the main system.

The second step will involve getting the appropriate knowledge in regard to the problem. The solution is then developed using appropriate programs (Fennel, 2010).

Process of problem recognition and problem solving

The following represents the general process of problem recognition and problem solving:

Step1:  Problem analysis

This involves established the context of the problem, comprehending the nature and creating a conclusive statement of the problem in a mathematical form.

Step2:  processing scheme

This step involves establishing the inputs and outputs necessary to create a mathematical representation of the problem.

Step3: creating the algorithm

This involves a step by step exercise in which the problem is sub-divided into sub-problems. A proper strategy is applied in the sub-division of the problem in order to develop an appropriate pseudo-code for the same. This will involve a collaboration of both English and Mathematics in order to develop the MATLAB commands (Fennel, 2010).

Step 4: Algorithm

The algorithm to solve the problem is created in a pseudo-code which is translated to MATLAB code.

Step 5: evaluation

This is the last step in the solution development and it is concerned with assessing the effectiveness of the program created. The results from the program are compared to known results (Fennel, 2010).


An algorithm is a program supplied to the computer so that it can perform an intended task. It is normally provided in computer programming language.

Process of algorithm development

The process of algorithm development involves the use of notations such as flowcharts and pseudo-code. The process will be explained in detail using the pseudo-code. The process encompasses the six basic computer operations described above (David, & Yishai, 2004).

Step 1: Receiving the information

The verbs Read and Get are used in the pseudo-code to instruct the computer to receive information. Read is generally applied when the program is to receive input from information saved in a file, while Get is applied when the program is to receive input from the keyboard (David, & Yishai, 2004).

  • Example:
    • Read employees name (from the employee master file).
    • Get system date (from the device).
    • Read employee ID number.
    • Get order.

Step 2: Putting out information

This involves requesting the computer to provide information or output to a device. The words Print, Write, Put, Output or Display are applied in pseudo-code. Print is applied when sending information to the printer while Write is applied in the case of a file. For sending data to a screen the words used are Put, Display or Output (David, & Yishai, 2004).

  • Example:
    • Print "End of the Output"
    • Write employee record to master file
    • Put out name, address and post code
    • Output salary; Display "an error”

Step 3: performing arithmetic operation

At this step specific or actual mathematics symbols or words are applied.


Add month salary to allowances. Normally the programming languages apply mathematics notations to allocate values to memory locations.

    • Divide total_salaryby employee_count
    • Average salary = total_salary / employee_count
    • Compute C = (F - 32) * 5 / 9

Step 4: Assigning values to a variable or a memory location

There are three instances where the pseudo-code is used to assign a value to a variable or memory locations (David, & Yishai, 2004).

    1. To provide the variable with an initial value. The words Initialize or Set are applied.
    2. To assign a value from a ‘data process’ operation, the symbol " = " is used.
    3. To store a portion of information for future use, the verbs Save or Store are applied.
  • Example:
  • Initialize month salary to 0: net salary = 0
  • total_salary = total_salary + allowances 1

Step 5: comparing two variables and choosing one of the two options

For this step specific words such as If..Then or If..Then..Else. are applied. This will best be explained by the example.


If employee is part_time Then

add 1 to part_time_count


add 1 to full_time_count

End If

If the employee is a part-time staff, then "add 1 to part_time_count" is executed. or else, the computer passes to the Else phrase to perform "add 1 to full_time_count" command (Davis, 2000).

Step 6: Repeating a group of actions

This is the last step and it is applicable where a series of steps need to be repeated. The words Do While and EndDo, are applied (Davis, 2000).


Do While employee_total < 50

Read employee record

Print employee name, address

Add 1 to employee total

  • EndDo

In this case, the set of instruction in the Do While loop will be executed continually as long as employee_total is less than 50. And every time computer passes the loop, the value of employee_total will be increased by 1, in which ultimately will make the employee_total to be equal to 50, and end the loop (Davis, 2000).

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