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Introduction to Computer Architecture

Main Functions of a Computer

There are four main functions of a computer that make user interaction possible:

  • Input
  • Processing
  • Memory
  • Output
- Input is data we give to our computers through interactions - Processing is comprised of the translation of input and the instructions given for output - Memory is used to store either temporary or permanent information - Output is the information that gets returned by the computer

Computer Instructions

Computer instructions are written in binary, also known as machine code. Computer hardware operates on a series of these binary instructions through pulsating power signals that signify either OFF or ON based on the binary digits 0 and 1 respectively.

Binary Numbering System

The binary numbering system is built on a base of 2. Every time we reach a power of 2, we add another digit. The decimal system works the same way, just with 10.

Counting to 10 in binary: Decimal Binary 0 0 1 1 2 10 3 11 4 100 5 101 6 110 7 111 8 1000 9 1001 10 1010

Least and Most Significant Bits (LSBs and MSBs)

The Least Significant Bit (LSB) is the farthest right digit in a binary number while the Most Significant Bit (MSB) is the leftmost digit. 0 is an acceptable value for both the MSB and the LSB.

8675309 expressed in Binary: 100001000101111111101101 ^ ^ MSB LSB

Binary Data

Binary data is any set of expressions that result in a response set of only two answers.

Binary Data Examples: - TRUE or FALSE - ON or OFF - 0 or 1 - LEFT or RIGHT Non-Binary Data Examples: - TRUE/FALSE/MAYBE - LEFT/RIGHT/CENTER - Ages of coworkers