What are hardware and software?

We explain what the hardware and software are and what functions each one performs. Also, how are they composed and examples.

  1. What are hardware and software?

In  computer science , the terms  hardware  and  software  are used to refer to  the two distinct and complementary aspects of any computerized system : the physical and tangible one, on the one hand; and the virtual and digital, on the other. Body and soul, respectively, of any  computer system.

When we talk about hardware ( hard , rigid English  , and  ware , product) we mean the mechanical, electrical or electronic set of real parts that make up the body of a computer , that is, the plates, cards, integrated circuits, mechanisms, electrical devices,  responsible for processing, support and connection of the machine .

This hardware is classified according to its function in the general system process:

  • Storage hardware . It operates as the “memory” of the computer, where information and data are stored . It can be of primary storage (internal, inside the computer) or secondary (removable, portable).
  • Processing hardware . The heart of the system is where the calculations are carried out and the logical operations are solved.
  • Peripheral hardware . These are the attachments and accessories that are incorporated into the system to communicate with the outside and / or provide new functions. It can be of three types, in turn:
    • Input hardware . It serves to enter data into the system, either by the user or operator, or from other systems and computers on the network.
    • Output hardware . Similarly, it allows retrieving information from the system, or sharing it over telecommunications networks.
    • Mixed hardware. Execute the input and output functions at the same time.

When talking about software, on the other hand, we refer to the virtual content of the system: the programs, applications, instructions and  communication protocols that serve as an interface with the user and control the way in which the system operates , and give it a meaning. It is the “mind” of the system.

This software can also be classified according to its function in the system:

  • operating ystem  (System or software ) . They are responsible for regulating the way in which the system operates and ensuring its continuity, serving as the basis for other programs or applications, and allowing the user interface. They are usually incorporated into the factory system.
  • Application software . This is the name of all the additional programs that are incorporated into the computer, already equipped with an  operating system , with the purpose of carrying out endless possible tasks: from word processors, spreadsheets ,  internet browsers , design applications or videogames

The sum of hardware and software completes the entirety of any computer system.

  1. Examples of hardware and software

Some examples of hardware: 

  • Monitors  or  projectors . Where information and processes are displayed to the user, they are considered output hardware, although there are already tactile monitors (which would then be mixed peripherals).
  • Keyboard and mouse .  Peripheral input  par excellence, allow user data entry: through buttons (keys) and through movements and buttons, respectively.
  • Webcams . Also called  webcams , as they became popular with the arrival of the Internet and videoconferences, they allow the entry and transmission of audio and video through the system.
  • Microp Rocessor is . The core of the CPU (The Central Processing Unit), is a very powerful microchip, which performs thousands of logical calculations per second.
  • Card  network . These integrated circuits to the CPU motherboard give you the possibility to interact with remote data networks, either through cables, radio signal, etc.

Some examples of software: 

  • Microsoft Windows . Probably the most popular of the operating systems currently employed, it is typical of IBM computers. It allows the user to manage and interact with the different segments of a computer, through a user-friendly environment, based on windows and visual representation.
  • Mozilla Firefox. An extremely popular Internet browser, available for download without payment. Connect the user to the World Wide Web , to perform data searches and other types of virtual operations.
  • Microsoft Word. Part of the Microsoft Office package, it is a word processor of the most recognized, and includes tools for business, database management , presentation preparation, among others.
  • Google Chrome. Another Internet browser, offered by  Google , whose lightness and speed quickly made it popular with Internet users. In addition, it opened the door to projects of a Google operating system.
  • Adobe Photoshop A known  application of image editing and processing of visual content, useful for graphic design and photo retouching, product of the company Adobe Inc.

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