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UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS LLANOS



COMPUTERS

(Reading 1)

For centuries , man has recognized a need to count. In his search for a better way, he has found
the computer. Although the computer is highly accurate and amazingly fast, it is just the last of a
long line of devices used for counting and other types of operations. Fingers were probably the
first calculator followed by small stones, the abacus, and adding machines. Even though
computers are quite often used for calculations, it is a mistake to think of them as large, fast
adding machines. A modern computer can run a factory or a business, play chess, compose music,
calculate salaries, and even talk! The surprising thing is that any of these can be done in only a few
seconds and the computer is rarely idle.

There are basically two types of computers but the digital computer is the most widely known and
used. For this reason, the word computer is often used alone to mean electronic digital
computer (General purpose analog computers are not very common since they are slower
than digital computers. Sometimes, however, an analog computer will be built for a definite
purpose or to solve a particular problem.)

The computer of the 1940s had to be extremely large to hold over 500,000 electrical connections
and 18,000 tubes. With the invention of transistors, it was possible to reduce the size greatly. The
computers of today are very compact. As new applications are found for computers, new ways
must also be found to make them even smaller and faster.

A computer has five basic parts or sections: Input, Control, Storage, Processing, Output. The Input
Section accepts properly prepared pieces of information which are called data. These data are
often prepared on a machine vey similar to a typewriter. There are special codes for this purpose .
Instead of using the alphabet, which is a code itself, this type of computer accepts only two digits,
0 and 1. This two- number or binary system can be compared with our decimal system which
uses ten digits (0 to 9).


Reading (2)

The Control Unit carries out the instructions it has received. These instructions are called
programs; the person responsible for planning them is a programmer. This programmer has to
make sure that the information fed into the computer is correct.

The Storage Unit is somewhat comparable to the human brain. As a matter of fact, it is sometimes
called memory. It stores all the data until there is a need for it.

The Processing Unit is the most important part of the computer. It is able to do all kinds of
mathematical calculations including algebra as well as simple addition and subtraction.

The Output Section is where information and answers are given out. With some computers, the
information, the information is merely typed out on an electric typewriter which has been
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attached to the machine itself. In others, the information appears on a screen; this type of output
works well if a permanent copy is not necessary.

Computers are being used extensively in the space program today. These computers are able to
figure with absolute precision the orbits that space capsules will make and predict exactly when
and where they will land. As mentioned earlier, hundreds of answers can be given out
instantaneously. Although the use of computers has greatly cut down the possibility of errors,
mechanical failures do occur. Probably the most important thing for all of us to keep in mind is
that computers are only capable of doing what they have been told to do. As some have said,
Machines should work, but men should think.

QUESTIONS AND DISCUSSION TOPICS

1. What invention resulted in computers becoming more compact? Can you think of other
devices which also became more compact because of this invention?
2. What type of training do you feel a person should have in order to work successfully in
computers?
3. What applications does the computer have in education, medicine, science, and the
military? What uses do you predict in these areas in the future?
4. How do computers affect your life every day?
5. What limits the uses of computers?

EXERCISE I:

Complete the following sentences with the correct words from the list below.

applications extensively device
idle salary code
digits decimal system memory
compact

1. He has to study the ------------------------- of this engine to his business.

2. He talked to his supervisor about getting an increase in his ---------------------------------.

3. The big computer runs all day, but its -------------------------at night.

4. I dont want to buy one one of those big cars. I want one of those new -------------------
models.

5. The alphabet is a --------------------made of letters.

6. The ------------------------------consists of the digit s 0 to 9.

7. Computes are used --------------------------in business and industry today.

8. The binary system uses only two -------------------------------

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9. Bill doesnt have to take notes because he has an excellent --------------------------

10. This -----------------is similar to a typewriter.

EXERCISE II.

In English, there are many verbs which end with - t- or -te which become NOUNS by the
addition of ion . ( The letter e is not used when writing the noun form.)

Examples:
invent (v) invention (n)
imitate (v) imitation (n)

The words in parentheses are in simple verb form. They should be changed to a noun form using
- ion and placed into the sentences below.

(react) 1. What was his -------------------------when you told him to leave?

(graduate) 2. Hell go to California after -------------------------------------------.

(participate) 3. A good class needs student --------------------------------------------

(rotate) 4. Day and night are caused by the ---------------------------------- of the earth.

(select) 5. Do you approve of Toms -------------------------------- as supervisor?

(obligate) 6. In this country, an enlisted man usually has a 3-year ----------------------------

(interrupt) 7. I cant get my work done; there are too many ------------------------------------

(instruct) 8. If you want to use the machine, you have to read the ------------------------------.

(elevate) 9. What is the ------------------------------------- of Mt. Mckinley?

(imitate) 10. Bills -----------------------------of the captain got him in a lot of trouble.


EXERCISE III.

Write questions based on the statements below using what, where, who, or how.

Example :
Statement: the Control Unit is the second part of a computer.
Question: What is the second part of a computer?


1. All of the information is kept in the Storage Unit.

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2. There are five basic parts to a computer.

3. The solutions are typed out on an electric typewriter.

4. The instructions a computer uses are called programs.

5. Difficult algebra problems can be done on a computer.

6. The engineer can demonstrate how the computer operates,

7. I attached the chart to the report.



EXERCISE IV. Change the if clause in each of the following sentences as indicated by thye
example.

Example: you can earn a lot of money if you work as an engineer.
By working as an engineer, you can earn a lot o money.


1. He could save gasoline if he drove a smaller car.

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2. He will be able to use the new computer if he studies the directions.

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3. She should lose weight if she watches her diet carefully.

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4. If he goes to school at night, he can get a degree in 6 years.

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5. If she sews her own clothes, she can save a lot of money.

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Taken by DLIELC - American Language Course- Student Text -. U.S.A.