difference between electronic computer and electronic calculator

by Guest1467  |  12 years, 7 month(s) ago

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difference between electronic computer and electronic calculator

 Tags: calculator, computer, difference, Electronic



  1. paafamily
    A fundamental difference between calculators and computers is that computers can be programmed to perform different tasks while calculators are pre-designed with specific functions built in, for example addition, multiplication, logarithms, etc. While computers may be used to handle numbers, they can also manipulate words, images or sounds and other tasks they have been programmed to handle. However, the distinction between the two is quite blurred; some calculators have built-in programming functions, ranging from simple formula entry to full programming languages such as RPL or TI-BASIC. Graphing calculators in particular can, along with PDAs, be viewed as direct descendants of the 1980s pocket computers, essentially calculators with full keyboards and programming capability.

    The market for calculators is extremely price-sensitive, to an even greater extent than the commodity personal computer market; typically the user desires the least expensive model having a specific feature set, but does not care much about speed (since speed is constrained by how fast the user can press the buttons). Thus designers of calculators strive to minimize the number of logic elements on the chip, not the number of clock cycles needed to do a computation.

    For instance, instead of a hardware multiplier, a calculator might implement floating point mathematics with code in ROM, and compute trigonometric functions with the CORDIC algorithm because CORDIC does not require hardware floating-point. Bit serial logic designs are more common in calculators whereas bit parallel designs dominate general-purpose computers, because a bit serial design minimizes the chip complexity, but takes many more clock cycles. (Again, the line blurs with high-end calculators, which use processor chips associated with computer and embedded systems design, particularly the Z80, MC68000, and ARM architectures, as well as some custom designs specifically made for the calculator market.)

    Personal computers and personal digital assistants can perform general calculations in a variety of ways:

    * Most computer operating systems, at least those that support some kind of multitasking, include calculator programs, both text mode (such as the Unix bc (1) language) and graphical mode (Mac OS Calculator, Microsoft Calculator, KCalc, Grapher). Most, though not all, imitate the interface of a physical calculator. Some shell programs and interpreted programming languages also provide interactive calculation functions.
    * For more complex calculations requiring large amounts of organized data, spreadsheet programs such as Excel or OpenOffice Calc provide calculation and sometimes reporting functions.
    * Computer algebra programs such as Mathematica, Maple or Matlab can handle advanced calculations.
    * Client-side scripting can be used for calculations, e.g. by entering “javascript:alert(calculation written in JavaScript)” in a web browser’s address bar (as opposed to “http://website name”). Such calculations can be embedded in a separate Javascript or HTML file as well.
    * Online calculators such as the calculator feature of the Google search engine can perform calculations server-side.

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