Unformatted text preview: r manufacturers on read-only memory (ROM) chips. These ROM chips can be
easily plugged into the computer system and they form a part of the hardware. Such
programs (software) made available on hardware are known as firmware. Firmware often
refers to a sequence of instructions (software) that is substituted for hardware. For
example, when cost is more important than performance speed, the computer system
architect might decide not to use special electronic circuits (hardware) to multiply two
numbers, but instead write instructions (software) to cause the machine to accomplish the
same function by repeated use of circuits already designed to perform addition. This
software will be stored in a ROM chip of the computer system and will be executed
(used) whenever the computer has to multiply two numbers. Hence, this software will be known as firmware. To be precise, firmware is software substituted for hardware and
stored in read-only memory.
Initially, only systems software was supplied in the form of firmware. But today, even
application programs are being supplied in firmware form. Dedicated applications are
also programmed in this fashion and available in firmware. Because of the rapid
improvements in memory technology, firmware is frequently a cost-effective alternative
to wired electronic circuits, and its use in computer design has been gradually increasing.
In fact, the increased use of firmware has today made it possible to produce smart
machines of all types. These machines have microprocessor chips with embedded
Points to Remember
1. The term hardware refers to the physical devices of a computer system. Thus, the
input, storage, processing, control, and output devices are hardware.
2. The term software refers to a collection of programs. A program is a sequence of
instructions written in a language that can be understood by a computer. It is the program
that controls the activity of processing by the computer and the computer performs
precisely what the program wants it to do.
3. A software package is a group of programs that solve a specific problem or perform a
specific type of job.
4. The hardware and softwar...
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- Spring '14