Discovery Science: Computer Technology – Applications

Computer Technology – Applications

Applications are software programs whose functions are accessed directly by the user. Examples include word processing and spreadsheet programs as well as computer-aided design (CAD) programs and games.

Office programs include word processors, spreadsheets, presentation aids, and databases. Microsoft Office is the current market leader. is an increasingly popular “open source” program, meaning it is free to download and use and can be modified according to the user’s needs.


Multimedia programs edit photos, videos, and sound files. They include animation tools, layout programs, and Web site design applications. They range from simple user-friendly freeware applications, open source image editing software such as “The GIMP” (GNU Image Manipulation Program) or expensive professional programs, which require extensive training in order to use.

Multimedia editing programs differ with their approach to the compression of files, visual color depths and resolution. Professional applications focus on editing large files, in high resolutions and file sizes, with no data loss through compression (Lossless Format).

Home user applications attempt to achieve a balance between quality and small file size by allowing some data loss through compression (Lossy Format).

Computer games

The computer game industry has strongly influenced the development of modern computers. Computer game designers design games to run on the very latest computer hardware, which encourages customers to frequently upgrade.

As a result, in the 1980s, computer gamers often shared a keyboard on a home computer while today, gamers enjoy multiplayer three-dimensional games on their own computers, connected via a local network or the Internet.

This is all made possible by high-performance processors, memory, and display cards. Consoles, on the other hand, are specialized computer game hardware that is developed over a number of years. This means that although consoles are often less powerful than desktop computers, games run faster and with greater stability.


Games can be played on computers, arcade machines, and dedicated video game machines called consoles. They can often use the same video and music formats as PCs and are increasingly compatible with them.

Handheld consoles, like the Playstation Portable and Nintendo DS have an integrated display. Some handhelds can be used to play games over the Internet and watch movies. Consoles are relatively affordable when compared to a computer, however, they are limited in the amount of peripherals that can be connected.