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Communications and Control





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Engineers work on control systems ranging from the everyday, passenger-actuated, such as those that run a lift, to the exotic, such as systems for keeping spacecraft on course. Control systems are used extensively in air­craft and ships, in military fire-control systems, in power transmission and distribution, in automated manufac­turing, and in robotics.

Computers

Computer engineering is now the most rapidly grow­ing field. The electronics of computers involve engineers in design and manufacture of memory systems, of cen­tral processing units, and of peripheral devices. The field of computer science is closely related to computer engi­neering; however, the task of making computers more «intelligent» (artificial intelligence), through creation of sophisticated programs or development of higher level machine languages or other means, is generally regarded as the aim of computer science.

One current trend in computer engineering is micro­miniaturization. Engineers try to place greater and greater numbers of circuit elements onto smaller and

smaller chips. Another trend is towards increasing the speed of computer operations through the use of parallel processors and superconducting materials.

 

HARDWARE

What is hardware? Webster's dictionary gives us the following definition of the hardware —themechanical, magnetic, electronic, and electrical devices composing a computer system.

Computer hardware can be divided into four catego­ries:

1. input hardware; 2. processing hardware; 3. storage hardware; 4.output hardware. Some of them are presented here.

Input hardware

The purpose of the input hardware is to collect data and convert it into a form suitable for computer process­ing. The most common input device is akeyboard. It looks very much like a typewriter. Themouse is a hand held device connected to the computer by small cable. As the mouse is rolled across the mouse pad, the cursor moves across the screen. When the cursor reaches the desired location, the user usually pushes a button on the mouse once or twice to signal a menu selection or a command to the computer.

Thelight pen uses a light sensitive photoelectric cell to signal screen position to the computer. Another type of input hardware is optic-electronicscanner that is used to input graphics as well as typeset characters.Micro­phone andvideo camera can be also used to input data into the computer. Electronic cameras are becoming very popular among the consumers for their relatively low price and convenience.

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