ZIMSEC O Level Computer Science Notes: Hardware and Software: Introduction 

  • A computer system is made up of two important elements which are hardware and software.
  • A computer is defined as an electronic device capable of accepting data (raw facts and figures)as input, processes (works on it) produces information (data converted into a meaningful form) as output, the information is stored in the computer system for later use.
  • A computer system works under the control of stored programs.
  • A stored program is also known as software.
  • Hardware– refers to the tangible, physical and mechanical components of a computer system, Hardware device can be internal or peripheral.
  • Internal hardware devices include hard drive disc, Random access memory (also known as RAM) and a processor.
  • Peripherals are devices that are external but can be connected to a computer. They are not essential for the functioning of the computer but can be connected to the computer for specific reasons. Examples are scanners, modems, printers, speakers, digital cameras, etc.
  • Software– refers to the intangible computer components, which are the programs or instructions of the computer. The hardware needs these instructions to function.
  • Data-refers to raw facts and figures of an activity. It can just be a list of numbers, names or a combination of these. Data is meaningless and needs to be processed.
  • Data cannot be used for decision-making purposes as it is meaningless.
  • Information– It is data that has been converted into a meaningful form.
  • In general, it is processed data.
  • Information can be understood and therefore can be used for decision-making purposes. Information is meaningful.
  • To get relevant information data entered into the computer must be accurate, relevant and up to date

To access more topics go to the O Level Computer Science Notes page