Topic 6 - Resource Management [HL]

Variety of computer systems

This section looks at a variety of computer systems and how they use different resources.

Supercomputers

Application

Supercomputers are used for example for quantum physics, molecular modelling, weather forecasting, oil and gas exploration. The fastest supercomputer, Tianhe 2, is located in Guangzhou!

Reason

These are highly calculation-intensive tasks, where a lot of processing power is required.

Limitations

Supercomputers can be very expensive. They also take up a lot of space and require specialized staff. Also they may have very specific applications and still don’t replace physical testing.

Mainframes

Application

Mainly in large organization for critical applications, bulk data processing as census, statistics, enterprise resource planning and transaction processing.

Reason

These applications need a lot of transaction processing power, meaning they relay on processing more tasks simultaneously.

Limitations

High costs. A hardware problem may affect all the users working on the system. They also take up more space and require special operating systems.

Servers

Application

A server is a computer that manages resources on a network. It may be used for files, databases, print jobs, DNS, emails, etc.

Reason

In a network there are different resources that need to be managed and shares. Servers are dedicated for one(or more) network resource.

Limitations

Still high costs. Special operating system may be needed and specialized staff as a network manager are required.

PCs

Application

General purpose aimed at individuals without any kind of intervention between the end-user and PC. Fixed.

Reason

Individuals may need a inexpensive and uncomplicated computer for all kind of tasks as web surfing, office work, multimedia storage, etc.

Limitations

A pc is not portable and takes up quite some space. It also requires external peripherals as a mouse, keyboard and monitor.

Laptops

Application

Same as a PC but portable.

Reason

People may need a computer for both at home, work or school. People may also need to have a computer when travelling.

Limitations

They are more expensive and less economic than a desktop. They usually also are less powerful and easily overheat due to its compact construction. Laptops may also be easier to be stolen or lost due to their size.

Smartphones

Application

Used as a mobile phone with extended functionality by most people in the modern world. Used in the private sector, but also in companies.

Reason

People will like to use all the functions in one device – mobile phone, digital camera, multimedia player, web browsing, emails, social networks, etc. This extended functionality may also be in the interest of many companies as workers can receive emails and work on the go.

Limitations

The constant digital connection via smartphones can lead to less real human interaction (why meet if you can chat?), but can also lead to accidents, as it distracts us from the real world. There are also many privacy and security concerns – there are many bugs, which allow exploitation or do you really know how much information Google or Apple gather about you?

Digital cameras

Application

Used to take pictures on a digital sensor, maybe process them and store them digitally on a memory card.

Reason

Taking digital pictures is easier and cheaper than its analog counterpart. In our modern world almost everybody likes to take pictures due to digital cameras making it possible.

Limitations

There may be a serious loss of data if the memory card fails. Also the camera isn’t able to take pictures if the battery runs out. Also people tend to print less pictures for posterity, as they usually just keep them on their computers.