Different terms or buzzwords have existed for the several classes of computers. Should our view of the classes of computers be so complicated and potentially confusing? Based on literature survey, empirical research, and authors' combined accumulated experience in teaching and consulting, this paper recommends that for most situations, a simple dichotomyof computers as CLIENT and SERVER is adequate. The CLIENT computer is primarily for the use of and under the control of an individual, while the SERVER computer is meant for the use of more than one individual -a group, department, corporation, or government agency. This paper contends that this simple dichotomy facilitates initial learning for all computer users. Based on empirical research, the results were statistically significant to substantiate that --(a) computer classification confusion exists, (b) the dichotomy works, and (c) the dichotomy is preferred. This paper also proposes a hierarchical classification of computers based on different levels of perspective. Just as the general view of the classes of computers was technical in the beginning,the view of the computing architecture has been also technical. The technical classifications were based on criteria like network topologies, type of protocol, etc. This paper contends that again the user-oriented view for the classification of computing architecture should prevail. We suggest a simple dichotomy of computing architectures: Server/Client and Client/Server. The proposed dichotomy is based on end users' view: who is at the center of information processing: Server or Client. In the Server/Client architecture, the server is at the center and the clients revolved around it in the sense that these are dependent on the capacity and capabilities of the server. With the fusion of computer and telecommunication technologies, a new paradigm of Client/Sever architecture has evolved. In this architecture, the client is at the center and there are several local or remote servers catering to the needs of this KING called the client.
Palvia, Shailendra C.; Chiang, Roger H.L.; and Palvia, Prashant C., "Classification of Computers and Computing Architectures:" (1995). AMCIS 1995 Proceedings. 53.