A computer does not need to be electronic, nor even have a processor, nor RAM, nor even a hard disk. While popular usage of the word “computer” is synonymous with a personal computer, the definition of a computer is literally “A device that computes, especially a programmable [usually] electronic machine that performs high-speed mathematical or logical operations or that assembles, stores, correlates, or otherwise processes information.”Any device which processes information qualifies as a computer, especially if the processing is purposeful.
Historically, computers evolved from mechanical computers and eventually from vacuum tubes to transistors. However, conceptually computational systems as flexible as a personal computer can be built out of almost anything. For example, a computer can be made out of billiard balls (billiard ball computer); an oft-quoted example. More realistically, modern computers are made out of transistors made of photolithographed semiconductors.
There is active research to make computers out of many promising new types of technology, such as optical computers, DNA computers, neural computers, and quantum computers. Some of these have been shown as being capable of tackling problems that modern computers cannot (such as how quantum computers can break some modern encryption algorithms by quantum factoring.
A computer will solve problems in exactly the way it is programmed to, without regard to efficiency, alternative solutions, possible shortcuts, or possible errors in the code. Computer programs that learn and adapt are part of the emerging field of artificial intelligence and machine learning.
This is soooo amazing! What advancement in technology!