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What is a computer? Some more!

A recent posting pointed to some lack of clarity about what a computer is.  Is a computer anything that carries out automated, logical or arithmetical operations?  Or, is it a particular kind of good, e.g., a PC and not an iPad?

What is a computer?

What is a computer?  Wikipedia currently gives the following definition:

A computer is a device that can be instructed to carry out an arbitrary set of arithmetic or logical operations automatically.

This definition is one that might be expected from a computer scientist.  It is very broad and entirely functional, that is, it describes a computer strictly in terms of what it does.

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