CPU: the Central Processing Unit, is the brain of the computer. This highly compact and powerful chip controls all the peripheries and processes inside the computer and does the calculations on the data the system handles.
ALU: the Arithmetic Logic Unit, is a circuit that is part of the CPU and does all the arithmetic calculations.
CU: the Control Unit, is the control circuit of the CPU. It handles the loading of new commands into the CPU and the decoding of these commands. Also, it directs the data flow and the operation of the ALU.
Registers: they are small, very fast circuits that store intermediate values from calculations or instructions inside the CPU. Cache memory is larger in size. There are two types of these memory we need to know: The Memory Address Register (MAR) and the Memory Data Register (MDR). The MAR register holds the address of the next memory cell that data will need to be read from or written to, while the MDR holds data that will be written to the RAM or that was read from RAM. The MAR gives the address the data of the MDR will be read from or written to.
Random Access Memory (RAM): memory unit that can be read to and written from at any location. Therefore it is used as primary memory in computers to hold data and instructions. It is volatile, so it loses its contents when power is turned off.
Read-Only Memory (ROM): memory unit that can only be read from. It is non-volatile, so it keeps its contents when power is turned off. Used to store the BIOS (today UEFI) of the computer, the small control program that directs turning on the computer.
A type of small, high-speed memory inside the CPU used to hold frequently used data, so that the CPU needs to access the much slower RAM less frequently.
The machine instructions cycle is is also called the fetch-execute cycle. It consists of the steps: fetching the next instruction, decoding the instruciton, executing the instruction. Often, a fourth step is added between the decoding and executing steps, called getting data, but because computers ultimately deal with data all the time, this step is often left out. This process is repeated all over again until the computer is turned off.
There are three internal buses used when the CPU is in operation:
Data bus: This bus is bi-directional (CPU needs to send and receive data) and reads and writes data between the CPU and memory and the variety of I/O devices connected to the system
Address bus: This bus is unidirectional and carries addresses between the processor and memory, or the variety of I/O devices connected to the system
Control bus: This bus is unidirectional and is used to control data within the system
Persistent storage is needed to store data and programs after the computer is turned off. Otherwise, all the programs and data would be need reinstalled every time the computer is restarted. Also, RAM is limited in a computer while large amounts of secondary storage are relatively cheap, so storing unused data and programs in secondary storage is useful to make space for running ones.
Memory management: managing the usage of RAM by the single programs using the computer. To allow programs to be less concerned with computer architecture. Each program gets a space - a page - in RAM to run in. In this space the program believes it has all the computer for itself (it uses logical memory addresses that are then translated into physical memory addresses by the OS). Also, memory management manages the swapping of memory pages. When RAM gets full.
Control and monitoring of system functions: The OS controls the working of the peripherals and creates an abstraction of them for the programs to use. This way, the programs only need to be concerned with the tasks they are supposed to carry out and not with the different architectures of different computers and peripherals.
Distributing resources between competing programs:
This section needs to be expanded
Word processor: A program to create and edit text
Spreadsheet: A program to manage numerical data
Desktop Publishing: A program to create and edit magazines, books and posters
Computer Aided Design (CAD): Software to digitally design and edit parts to be manufactured. Often includes a Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) module to be able to use the model to directly produce a prototype.
Web browser: A program to view web pages
Bit: smallest unit in computers, either a 1 or a 0
Byte: a group of 8 bits
Binary: computers use the binary (base 2) number system
Decimal: This is the number system we use (base 10)
Hexadecimal: Base 16 number system
Computer work with the binary number system, so everything in them is represented in 1s and 0s. So, the data that we want to store in the computer needs to be encoded in 1s and 0s. For different media types, different encodings exist.
Text needs to be also transformed into 0s and 1s. To do this, a character set is used. A character set is a collection of characters and the binary codes that represent them. Today, the most used character sets are ASCII and UTF.
ASCII: stands for American Standard Code for Information Interchange. It uses 7 (later 8) bits to encode the characters, so in total 28=256 different characters can be represented.
UTF: is a superset of ASCII. It was developed because people realized that the 256 characters of ASCII are not enough to satisfy our need for a suitable number of characters. The goal of the maker of UTF is nothing less than to represent every character humans have ever used.
Strings: representation of characters in a continous bit chain
Integers: representation of numbers in computers. Whole numbers. Negatives can be represented by the 'two's complement' method.
Floats: representation of fractions within the computer. It is a special version of the scientific notation. It consists of a sign bit, the mantissa, the number itself, and the exponent which states how many characters left or right of the number the radix point 'floats'. The radix point is the version of the decimal point that can be applied in any number system. In the 64 bit float, 1 bit is used for the sign, 52 are used for the mantissa and 11 are used for the exponent.
AND: true only if both of the inputs are true
OR: true if at least one of the inputs are true
NOT: inverts a value, makes a false from a true and vice versa
NAND: NOT + AND gates together. False if both the inputs are true, otherwise true
NOR: NOT + OR gates together. Only true of both of the inputs are false, otherwise true
XOR: exclusive OR. Only true if only one of the inputs is true, otherwise false
A truth table is a table listing all the connections in a logic circuit and can thus be used to trace output to different inputs.
There is nothing much to say to this. Just get the logic right.
The IB do not require us to draw the specific symbols for the gates, we should just draw a circle and write the name of the gate into it.
Content originally created by Matyas Mehn and adapted/updated with permission under the Attribution-Share Alike licence.