# What is a Calculator?

## What is a Calculator?

A calculator is a manufactured device that enables us to solve complex mathematics easily. It helps to save a lot of time and energy as well. They are small and portable devices with minimal maintenance requirements. A calculator is an electronic device that is used to perform different mathematical calculations on numbers. It is also a mechanical device, so that it can be a hardware device and software as well. Below picture is an example of calculator.

A basic calculator can only perform basic mathematical and arithmetical calculations, such as, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, etc. The calculator takes input from the user as an operand (operands are the numbers given for calculation or operation), and it allows the user to choose the operator (operators are the symbols that represent action or operation to be performed using the operands).

There are advanced calculators that can perform various complex operations like square root, hyperbolic functions, logarithm and antilog, exponential operations, trigonometric functions, etc.

## Evolution:

The calculators, in modern times, require either cells/ batteries or electricity to operate. Basically, calculators do their processing based on the programmed functions and given input. First calculator was mechanical, which was invented in 1642 by Wilhelm Schickard.

Few tools were reported to work as a calculator in ancient times (before 2000 BC):

Abacus, Slide rule, Pebbles, Counting boards, Pascal's calculator, etc.

Most of the aids, as mentioned earlier, do not require power for operation.

### Modern calculators:

Electronic calculators are referred to as modern calculators. These calculators need electricity as a source of power, and these are easily available in various different shapes and sizes, and the price varies from cheap to expensive. Digital calculators can be downloaded from the internet, and these are also provided as inbuilt features from various smartphone or smartwatch companies; these are easily accessed on the personal computers as well.

## Types of calculators

We have seen a rapid evolution in calculator devices and witnessed an amazing updating rate in this area over the last few decades. There are different calculators designed for the different needs of users. Some of them are mentioned below:

### 1) Basic calculator

Basic calculators majorly have four basic functionalities and can only perform arithmetic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. And, some basic calculators can also perform percentile functions. These calculators are cheapest in price and are small in size that can be carried in a pocket.

These have four to five symbols to represent the operators: +, -, *, /, =.

### 2) Scientific calculator

As per the name suggests, it is designed to perform scientific calculations. These calculators usually have more operator symbols than the basic calculator. It can find square root, exponential functions, trigonometric, logarithms, percentile etc. These calculators carry a large screen to display large numbers and large calculations.

### 3) Financial calculator

As per the name suggests, these calculators are designed to deal with the financial data and perform the required functions. Its features are similar to scientific calculators, but its specialty is that we can print the entire calculation on a paper tape while using this calculator. Furthermore, it is a valuable tool for financial calculation as it provides a hard copy for record-keeping also.

### 4) Graphing calculator

These are the electronic devices that carry similar features to scientific calculators. It is able to graph various equations, like mapping the coordinates of the trigonometry. It can perform calculus, and it is very beneficial for visual learners.

## Design of a Calculator

Input: All electronic calculators have a keyboard through which the user can provide input to the device in the form of an operator and operand. An electronic calculator contains number keys from 0-9 (some calculators also have 00 and 000 as clickable keys to enter big figures directly), operation symbols like +, -, *, /, %, =, ^, etc.

Display output: All the electronic calculators usually have an LCD (liquid crystal display) to display the output to the user. The large-sized display allows us to see a large number of digits.

Memory: Basic or standard calculators can only store one value at a time, but other calculators can store multiple values at a time under the name of a variable.

Power source: Electronic calculators work through a source of power, and they need a power supply to continue their operation. Most of the calculators use cells/batteries, solar energy, and electricity as their power source.