While the uses and applications of computers and computer-based technology are nearly endless, the core functions of computers can be placed into four main categories. All of the categories revolve around some aspect of data.
- Input—A computer receives and accepts data that is input by a user. More often than not, that is done with a keyboard and mouse, but it could also be done with webcams, other computers, and various data storage devices.
- Storage—A computer can store vast amounts of data in multiple formats.
- Processing—This is probably one of the most important functions of a computer. Computers can take input data and process it to give a user the desired information or organization of that information.
- Output—This is the computer's ability to display processed information to a user. A computer can output information through its monitor, speakers, and/ or printer.