Robotics

Teaching robots what humans want

Told to optimize for speed while racing down a track in a computer game, a car pushes the pedal to the metal … and proceeds to spin in a tight little circle. Nothing in the instructions told the car to drive straight, and ...

Engineering

Reinforcement learning expedites 'tuning' of robotic prosthetics

Researchers from North Carolina State University, the University of North Carolina and Arizona State University have developed an intelligent system for "tuning" powered prosthetic knees, allowing patients to walk comfortably ...

Computer Sciences

Research identifies key weakness in modern computer vision systems

Computer vision algorithms have come a long way in the past decade. They've been shown to be as good or better than people at tasks like categorizing dog or cat breeds, and they have the remarkable ability to identify specific ...

Hi Tech & Innovation

Team develops smartwatch with all the moves

In an effort to make digital smartwatches more convenient for their users, researchers at Dartmouth College and the University of Waterloo have produced a prototype watch face that moves in five different directions.

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Computer

A computer is a machine that manipulates data according to a set of instructions.

Although mechanical examples of computers have existed through much of recorded human history, the first electronic computers were developed in the mid-20th century (1940–1945). These were the size of a large room, consuming as much power as several hundred modern personal computers (PCs). Modern computers based on integrated circuits are millions to billions of times more capable than the early machines, and occupy a fraction of the space. Simple computers are small enough to fit into a wristwatch, and can be powered by a watch battery. Personal computers in their various forms are icons of the Information Age and are what most people think of as "computers". The embedded computers found in many devices from MP3 players to fighter aircraft and from toys to industrial robots are however the most numerous.

The ability to store and execute lists of instructions called programs makes computers extremely versatile, distinguishing them from calculators. The Church–Turing thesis is a mathematical statement of this versatility: any computer with a certain minimum capability is, in principle, capable of performing the same tasks that any other computer can perform. Therefore computers ranging from a mobile phone to a supercomputer are all able to perform the same computational tasks, given enough time and storage capacity.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA