The defining feature of modern computers which distinguishes them from all other machines is that they can be programmed. That is to say that some type of instructions (the program) can be given to the computer, and it will process them. Modern computers based on the von Neumann architecture often have machine code in the form of an imperative programming language.
In practical terms, a computer program may be just a few instructions or extend to many millions of instructions, as do the programs for word processors and web browsers for example. A typical modern computer can execute billions of instructions per second (gigaflops) and rarely makes a mistake over many years of operation. Large computer programs consisting of several million instructions may take teams of programmers years to write, and due to the complexity of the task almost certainly contain errors.
Read more about this topic: Computer
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Famous quotes containing the word programs:
“We attempt to remember our collective American childhood, the way it was, but what we often remember is a combination of real past, pieces reshaped by bitterness and love, and, of course, the video pastthe portrayals of family life on such television programs as Leave it to Beaver and Father Knows Best and all the rest.”
—Richard Louv (20th century)
“Short of a wholesale reform of college athleticsa complete breakdown of the whole system that is now focused on money and powerthe womens programs are just as doomed as the mens are to move further and further away from the academic mission of their colleges.... We have to decide if thats the kind of success for womens sports that we want.”
—Christine H. B. Grant, U.S. university athletic director. As quoted in the Chronicle of Higher Education, p. A42 (May 12, 1993)
“Although good early childhood programs can benefit all children, they are not a quick fix for all of societys illsfrom crime in the streets to adolescent pregnancy, from school failure to unemployment. We must emphasize that good quality early childhood programs can help change the social and educational outcomes for many children, but they are not a panacea; they cannot ameliorate the effects of all harmful social and psychological environments.”
—Barbara Bowman (20th century)