Individual chapters within each layer focus on particular aspects of that layer. The next section provides a synopsis of each chapter. The design of this book is extremely modular. The layered view of a computing system provides flexibility to instructors who may choose to emphasize topics differently or place them in a different order. We revisit the onion analogy at the opening of each chapter, showing how the current discussion fits into the big picture. Synopsis The first and last chapters of the book form bookends: Chapter 1 describes what a computing system is and Chapter 17 explores what computing systems cannot do. The chapters in between look in depth at the layers that make up a computing system and explain, one step at a time, how a computer does what it does. Chapter 1 lays the groundwork for the rest of the book, establishing terminology and explaining the history of computing. The evolution of the hardware and software levels that make up the history of computing systems form much of the underlying structure of the layers explored throughout the
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