Text 2. Computers in the modern world.
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Almost everything in the modern world is done with the help of computers. Today computers are being used more and more extensively, for the simple reason that they are far more efficient than human beings. They have much better memories and can store great amount of information and they can do calculations in a fraction of the time required by a human mathematician. No man can do 500,000 sums in a second, but a modern computer can.
They can control machines, work out tomorrow´s weather and even play chess, write poetry or compose music. They help scholars to find a book or article in many subjects. There are also systems which are being developed to translate articles from foreign magazines by computer and to make up many lists of information which are needed in a modern library.
Computers influence our life and our language. Today even a 5 years old child knows that a mouse is not only a type of small animal that has long front teeth, but also an input device, on top of which there are one or more buttons for communicating with the computer. But the only language computers can understand directly is called machine code. It is known to consist of the binary code (1s and 0s). Machine code as a means of communication is very difficult to write, so you need a special program to understand this language.
Basic languages, in which the program is similar to the machine code version, are known as low-level languages. To make the program easier to write and to overcome the problem of intercommunication between different types of machines, higher-level languages were developed such as BASIC, COBOL, FORTRAN, Pascal, Ada, C and others. A higher-level language is a problem oriented programming language, whereas a low-level language is machine oriented. This means that higher-level language is a convenient and simple means of describing the information structure and sequences of actions to be performed for a particular task. At present there is a tendency towards an even higher level of programming languages, which might be called specification languages, and an increasing use of software development tools. People communicate instructions to the computer in symbolic languages and the easier this communication can be made, the wider the application of the computers will be. Scientists are reported to be already working on artificial intelligence and the next generation of computers will be able to understand human languages.
Another great achievement of the computer world is the Internet. It is a magnificent global network with millions of people and computers connected together, where they exchange an immeasurable amount of information, e-mails, news, resources and ideas. With a few touches of a keyboard a person can get access to materials in almost everywhere. The web is one of the best resources for the up-to-date information. It is a hypertext-based system by which you can navigate through the Internet. Hypertext is the text that contains links to other documents. A special program known as browser can help you to find news, pictures, virtual museums, electronic magazines and print Web pages. You can also click on keyboard or buttons that take you to other pages or other Web sites. This is possible because browsers understand hypertext markup language or code, a set of commands to indicate how a web page is formatted and displayed. Internet allows Video conferencing programs and television for home communications, shopping, banking and other interactive services. For example, e-commerce offers buyers convenience. They can visit the World Wide Web sites 24 hours a day and seven days a week to compare prices and make purchases, without having to leave their homes or offices. In some cases, consumers can immediately obtain a product or service, such as an electronic book, a music file, or computer software, by downloading it over the Internet...