01 Introduction - 1 - Introduction Here we discuss...

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1 - Introduction -1 1 - Introduction Here we discuss computers and programming in a simple, introductory fashion. The objective is to describe how a computer works how a program operates some techniques for designing a program. We will start by defining some terms. A program is a set of instructions for the computer. Software is a collection of programs which we might classify into two categories: 1. An Operating System (OS) supervises the most basic computer functions like signing on, running programs, saving files, etc. For a personal computer, the OS might be DOS, Windows, or MacOS. For a workstation, the OS might be UNIX, VMS, or LINUX. 2. An Application is a program which interacts with the computer and the OS to produce useful results. For example, the program which you are using to read this document (or the program which sent it to the printer) is an application. Application software tells the computer how to solve problems. What kind of problems? Computers are especially well suited for solving: problems requiring repetitive calculations trial and error solutions approximation techniques problems involving large amounts of data Some examples of application software include word and image processing spreadsheets “traditional” programming language systems like FORTRAN and C the application software to help you write programs in these languages (e.g., editors and compilers) The application software we will be using in this course is called MATLAB. We will be writing programs in MATLAB in much the same way as one writes programs in traditional programming languages.
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1 - Introduction -2 Computer hardware We have noted that software provides instruction to computers. But it would be more accurate to say that software instructs hardware . We might think of computer hardware as having five main components: the Central Processing Unit , CPU, is the “brain” of the operation the Main Memory holds the software that is currently being executed the Secondary Memory keeps the permanent record of information Input Devices are used (obviously) to input information (e.g., keyboard and mouse) Output Devices (like monitors and printers) communicate information to us humans Understanding how these components operate and interact is fairly simple. The main memory is a large group of switches which can be turned on or off. We say that each switch is a bit, and it can have a value of 0 or 1 depending on if it is on or off. The memory is broken up into sequences of switches each of which are given a number, or an address . A string of bits is called a byte . In most cases a byte is 8 bits. (Half a byte is sometimes called a nybble ). Information (i.e., a number or a character) can be stored in every byte.
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This note was uploaded on 02/12/2011 for the course E 7 taught by Professor Patzek during the Spring '08 term at University of California, Berkeley.

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01 Introduction - 1 - Introduction Here we discuss...

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