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Unformatted text preview: 1 14:440:127– Introduction to Computers for Engineers Notes for Lecture 01 Rutgers University, Spring 2011 Instructor - Brenda V. Cortez 1 What is a program? All programming requires some basic tools in order to accomplish some task using any programming language. A program is simply a collection of instructions that tell our computers how to interact with us (the user), how to communicate with its hardware and ultimately how to manipulate data. Therefore, one of the tools we need is a way to store the data that will be manipulated- when I say manipulated , I could be referring to adding two numbers together or to calculating the derivative of some function. In order to get this data, thus, you may also need a tool to get input from the user and store this input (data) in some location. Of course, if you are interacting with the user, then it must be because the user wants to have something returned–a result–and this result (data) will most likely have to be printed to the screen. Prior to giving the user any results, you will have to manipulate the input data in some sort of way, and this may mean your program will have to have a way of making choices. For example, in a class, the instructor needs to determine whether a student passed the class or not. In order to do this, the program would have to have some way of telling the difference. In fact, not only would the instructor need to know if one student passed, but if any of the students passed, so the manipulation would have to be applied to each of the students’ scores. Therefore, this also requires that the program have some way of repeating work, in this example, repeat the determination of a student’s status in the class based on some threshold grade. Finally, if some data is being manipulated for some purpose, then we most likely want to hold on to this information for later and further manipulation. Therefore, we need to have an efficient form of storing this information, such that it can be retrieved easily when needed. 2 Computer Basics 2.1 Encoding Wikipedia will tell you that “...in communications and information processing, encoding is the process by which information from a source is converted into symbols to be communicated.” An example of this in real life is our everyday communication via phones. Without phones we would be unable to communicate long distance, since sound cannot be transported long distance very easily. However, it was determined that the sound of your voice could be transformed into electrical signals, which can be transported long distances, through wires, much easier. Assuming there is a phone on each end of the communication, these electrical signals can be decoded into sound and WooHoo! you have a phone conversation!...
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- Spring '11
- Binary numeral system