Computer Organization

What is a computer?

A simple minded definition: a computer is a machine that computes. It has evolved from mechanical devices like the abacus and slide rule to the machine we know now that stores data (words, numbers, or pictures), interacts with external devices (the monitor, printer, speakers), and executes programs.

What is a computer system?

A complete computer system consists more than just a computer. The four main components are:

What is the hardware?

Anatomy of a computer

What is Programming?

A program is a set of instructions that a computer executes to achieve a certain desired effect - perform a calculation, render a picture, or produce music. A program is written in a specific programming language.

A computer cannot solve a problem by itself. The programmer must write down in minute details each step the computer has to take to solve the problem. An algorithm is the set of steps taken to solve a given problem.

What is an algorithm?

An algorithm is a step-by-step solution to a given problem. An algorithm has the following properties:

How does a computer run a program?

The program is first loaded into RAM. The computer reads the program one instruction at a time. The CPU decodes the instruction, reads data, executes the instruction and stores results (if any). The CPU may also interact with the monitor, printer, speakers or other peripheral devices as instructed.

Why everyone should learn computer programming?

Aside - Computer Arithmetic

The unit of information in a computer is a bit. A bit is either 0 or 1. Eight bits make a byte. Storage capacity of either the RAM or Hard Drive is measured in bytes. The increments in capacity are in powers of 2 (210 = 1024). Here are some commonly used units:

1 KiloByte (KB) = 210 Bytes (~ 103 Bytes)
1 MegaByte (MB) = 210 KiloBytes (~ 103 KB)
1 GigaByte (GB) = 210 MegaBytes (~ 103 MB)
1 TeraByte (TB) = 210 GigaBytes (~ 103 GB)
1 PetaByte (PB) = 210 TeraBytes (~ 103 TB)