A computer is a general purpose device that can be programmed to carry out a set of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Since a sequence of operations can be readily changed, the computer can solve more than one kind of problem.
Conventionally, a computer consists of at least one processing element, typically a central processing unit (CPU), and some form of memory. The processing element carries out arithmetic and logic operations, and a sequencing and control unit can change the order of operations in response to stored information. Peripheral devices allow information to be retrieved from an external source, and the result of operations saved and retrieved.
Mechanicalanalog computers started appearing in the first century and were later used in the medieval era for astronomical calculations. In World War II, mechanical analog computers were used for specialized military applications such as calculating torpedo aiming. During this time the first electronic digital computers were developed. Originally they were the size of a large room, consuming as much power as several hundred modern personal computers (PCs).
The term "computer", in use from the early 17th century (the first known written reference dates from 1613), meant "one who computes": a person performing mathematical calculations, before electronic computers became commercially available.
"The human computer is supposed to be following fixed rules; he has no authority to deviate from them in any detail." (Turing, 1950)
Teams of people were frequently used to undertake long and often tedious calculations; the work was divided so that this could be done in parallel.
The first time the term "Computer" appeared in The New York Times was February 3, 1853; an obituary stated:
Since the end of the 20th century, the term "human computer" has also been applied to individuals with prodigious powers of mental arithmetic, also known as mental calculators.
Offshore (1979) is a novel by Penelope Fitzgerald. It won the Booker Prize for that year. It recalls her time spent on boats on the Thames in Battersea. The novel explores the liminality of people who do not belong to the land or the sea, but are somewhere in between. The epigraph, "che mena il vento, e che batte la pioggia, e che s'incontran con si aspre lingue" ("whom the wind drives, or whom the rain beats, or those who clash with such bitter tongues") comes from Canto XI of Dante's Inferno.
"Offshore", when used relative to hydrocarbons, refers to an oil, natural gas or condensate field that is under the sea, or to activities or operations carried out in relation to such a field. There are various types of platform used in the development of offshore oil and gas fields, and subsea facilities.