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Computing Basics. Chapter 3, Exploring the Digital Domain. Computing Basics. how computers process information how hardware is organized for instruction-execution how software directs processing the role of the operating system how the OS manages files, user interface

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Computing basics

Computing Basics

Chapter 3,

Exploring the Digital Domain

Computing basics1
Computing Basics

  • how computers process information

  • how hardware is organized for instruction-execution

  • how software directs processing

  • the role of the operating system

  • how the OS manages files, user interface

  • common features of application software

In this chapter you will learn about . . .

Computer system
Computer System

  • a computer system is an electronic digital data processing machine

    • data -- symbolic representation of information

    • a computer process is sequence of states during which data is modified in specific ways

    • a program is a sequence of instructions that direct a process

Instruction execution cycle
Instruction-Execution Cycle

  • fetching the next instruction

  • decoding (or interpreting) that instruction

  • executing what the instruction prescribes

Computer system1
Computer System


    • devices, equipment


    • programs

Processor system
Processor System

stores both data and instructions used for processing


manages the instruction-execution cycle


  • information (data) is stored in uniform-sized units

  • each unit has a unique address

  • reading from memory

    • copy data from a memory location

  • writing to memory

    • moving data into a memory location

Secondary memory and i o
Secondary Memory and I/O

  • Secondary memory

    • nonvolatile storage

    • cheaper, mass storage

  • Input/Output devices

    • input--translates human-readable forms of information to machine-readable data

    • output-- translates machine-readable data to human-readable forms


  • programs

    • written using programming languages (symbolic codes for expressing computer instructions)

  • programs ≠ processes

  • conditional processing

    • the ability to alternative actions based on the recognition of changing conditions

Operating systems
Operating Systems

  • continuous control of system

  • supervises processes

  • creates useful abstractions for users

  • defines computing experience

An operating system is a collection of resident programs that manage the computer’s resources, supervise the execution of processes, and provides useful services and security.

Managing files
Managing Files

  • A file is a sequence of items treated as a unit and identified with a unique name

  • filenames are composed of

    • identifier + ‘ .’ + extension

  • identifier (Windows) = up to 255 symbols excluding special characters

  • extension (Windows) = 1 - 4 characters that are used to classify file

Hierarchical file system

tree--special type of graph

nodes, edges (links)





directory structure--series of levels based on a tree

files, folders

path--list of all ancestors of a file/folder from root

pathname--conventional listing of path

Hierarchical File System

User interface


command line interpreters

terse, but powerful

steeper learning curves

burden of communication on user


manipulate visual elements


more tedious

User Interface


  • are restricted to a specific problem domain

  • have a user interface based on some intuitive metaphor

  • use conducted in sessions