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Chapter 2 Introduction to Systems Architecture. Chapter Goals. Discuss the development of automated computing Describe the general capabilities of a computer Describe computer system components and their functions List computer system classes and their distinguishing characteristics

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chapter goals
Chapter Goals
  • Discuss the development of automated computing
  • Describe the general capabilities of a computer
  • Describe computer system components and their functions
  • List computer system classes and their distinguishing characteristics
  • Define the role and function of application and system software
  • Describe the economic role of system and application development software
  • Describe the components and function of computer networks
introduction to systems architecture
Introduction to Systems Architecture

The term systems architecture describes a computer system’s components and the interaction between them.

automated computation
Automated Computation

Definition: A computer is any device that can:

  • Accept numeric inputs
  • Perform computational functions, such as addition and subtraction
  • Communicate results

Modern computer systems may implement the basic functions using many methods and/or devices:

  • Implement computation electronically
  • Implement storage optically
  • Implement communication using a combination of electronics and mechanics
mechanical implementation
Mechanical Implementation
  • The difference engine is an early mechanical computation device that was designed to perform repetitive mathematical computations.
  • The mechanical implementation of computers used gears and wheels and other mechanical movements.
mechanical implementation2
Mechanical Implementation

There are inherent limitations and shortcomings of mechanical computation including:

  • Complex design and construction
  • Wear, breakdown, and maintenance of mechanical parts
  • Limits on operating speed
electrical implementation
Electrical Implementation
  • The design of the mechanical computer devices gave way to the construction of electrical devices during World War II.
  • Electrical devices were used to replace mechanical devices within the computer system, and input/output devices.
  • Electrical computers addressed most of the shortcomings of mechanical computation.
  • The use of the electrical components made it possible to increase the speed of the computer system, which made it possible to solve larger more complex problems.
  • Storage of numerical values is accomplished by the storage of magnetic charges.
electrical implementation1
Electrical Implementation

Mechanical Clock  Electrical Clock

Mechanical Computation  Electrical Computation

1946  First General Purpose Electrical Computer

ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer)

The ENIAC machine occupied a room 30x50feet. The controls are at the left, and a small part of the output device is seen at the right
optical implementation
Optical Implementation
  • Data can be represented as pulses of light and stored either directly or indirectly by materials that reflect or don’t reflect light.
  • Optical devices are currently used for storing and retrieving large amounts of data. (CD, DVD, Laser Printer, Optical Scanner)
  • Optical & Electro-optical devices for communication in computer system components are at experimental stages.
quantum computing
Quantum Computing
  • Some scientists and engineers have been experimenting with quantum computing devices during the last decade.
  • These experiments are still in their infancy and a commercially viable quantum computer is estimated to be more than a decade away.
  • Classical Computer technology is based on classical physics whereas quantum computing is based on quantum physics (subatomic behavior).
  • Classical computing uses binary digit, whereas quantum computing uses qubit (quantum bit).
  • In classical computer bit is the unit of information, can have either a value of 0 or 1. A qubit is the basic unit of information in quantum computer and can have two states of 0 and 1.
  • In a quantum computer particles such as electrons, photons, and ions can be used and their charge or polarization acting as a representation of 0 and/or 1.
computer capabilities
Computer Capabilities

Computers are automated computing devices which have the following primary characteristics:

  • General-purpose processor capable of performing computation, data movement, comparison, and branching functions
  • Storage capacity sufficient to hold large numbers of program instructions and data
  • Flexible communication capability through the use of multiple media and devices
computer capabilities1
Computer Capabilities

A processor is a device that performs data manipulation and/or transformation functions including:

  • Computation
  • Comparison, and branching
  • Data movement
computer capabilities2
Computer Capabilities
  • A processor executes a sequence of instructions stored in a program.
  • An instruction is a signal or command to a processor to perform one of its functions.
  • A processor executes a function in response to an instruction.
  • A long sequence of instructions is called a program.
computer capabilities3
Computer Capabilities

A processor can be classified as:

  • General-purpose
  • Special-purpose
computer capabilities4
Computer Capabilities
  • A general-purpose processor is capable of executing many different instructions in many different sequences or combinations.
  • Their function can be changed by altering the program that directs its actions.
computer capabilities5
Computer Capabilities
  • A special-purpose processor is designed to perform only one specific task.
  • Used by devices such as microwave ovens, compact disc players and computer printers.
computer capabilities6
Computer Capabilities


If processing tasks require more than a processor’s computation instructions, a formula and/or algorithm is needed.

computer capabilities7
Computer Capabilities


A processor executes a sequence of computation and data movement instructions to solve a formula.

Formulas Example:

Gross_Profit =

(Quantity_Sold) x (Selling_Price) – Selling_Expenses

computer capabilities9
Computer Capabilities


  • Computer processors also can perform a more complex class of processing tasks called algorithms.
  • An algorithm is a program in which different sets of instructions are applied to different data input values. Depending on the data input values, entirely different subsets of instructions maybe executed.
  • In contrast to an algorithm: all of the instructions that implement a formula are always executed in the same order, regardless of the data input.
computer capabilities10
Computer Capabilities
  • If decisions need to be made within the processing tasks, then comparisons and branching is needed.
  • Comparisons are called conditions and the result of evaluating the condition is true or false.
computer capabilities11
Computer Capabilities

In earlier programming languages:

When a comparison condition is true, the program jumps or branches to the first instruction that implements the corresponding formula.

computer capabilities12
Computer Capabilities
  • Computer Intelligence:
    • A computer processor has restricted comparative abilities than a human being.
    • A person can compare complex objects and handle uncertainties in the resulting conclusions.
    • A computer can make simple comparisons with numerical data, where the result is completely true or false.
    • Artificial Intelligence uses software/hardware to make computer systems able to handle comparison and uncertainty etc. similar to human. Ex: NN, FL, GA
computer capabilities13
Computer Capabilities

Storage Capacity:

A computer stores variety of information including : intermediate processing results, data and programs.

Storage devices vary in characteristics such as cost, access speed, and reliability.

computer capabilities14
Computer Capabilities

Input/Output Capability:

A computer’s input/output devices must be flexible and encompass a variety of communication modes.

The communication modes are:

  • Audio
  • Text
  • Graphics
computer capabilities15
Computer Capabilities

Input/Output Devices:

  • Video display
  • Keyboard
  • Mouse
  • Printer
  • Modem
  • Network Interface
computer hardware
Computer Hardware

Computer Hardware has 4 major Functions:

  • Processing
  • Storage
  • External communication
  • Internal communication
  • Executing:
  • Computation, Comparison, & other instructions
  • in order to: transform data inputs into data outputs.
  • Storage of program instructions for (temporary, short term & long term)
  • User
  • System administrators
  • Other computer systems
  • Processor
  • Disk drives
  • Display
computer hardware2
Computer Hardware

Computer System Components:

  • Central Processing Unit (CPU)
  • Primary Storage
  • Secondary Storage
  • Input/Output Units
  • System Bus
  • Execution of Computation
  • Comparison
  • Instructions to transfer data
  • Storage of program instructions for (temporary, short term & long term)
  • User
  • System administrators
  • Other computer systems
  • Processor
  • Disk drives
  • Display
computer hardware4
Computer Hardware

Central Processing Unit (CPU):

  • ALU (Arithmetic and Logic Unit)
  • Registers
  • Control Unit
computer hardware6
Computer Hardware

The Arithmetic and Logic Unit contains electrical circuits that implement each instruction.

Simple Maths Instructions:

+ - * /

Complex instructions: exponentiations, logartihms: m^n, log, ln

Logic Instructions:

=, >, <

computer hardware7
Computer Hardware

The Registers are small internal storage locations that hold a single instruction or data item.

computer hardware8
Computer Hardware

The Control Unit has two primary functions:

  • Control movement of data to and from CPU registers and other hardware components
  • Access program instructions and issue appropriate commands to the ALU

Computer Hardware

CPU Components:

computer hardware9
Computer Hardware

The system bus is the primary pathway for data transmission among hardware components.

The capacity of this channel is a critical factor in the overall performance of the computer system.

computer hardware10
Computer Hardware

Storage Devices:

Primary Storage

Secondary Storage

computer hardware11
Computer Hardware

Primary storage is referred to as memory or main memory.

Primary storage holds program instructions that are currently being executed, and data being processed by those instructions.

Primary Storage:

computer hardware12
Computer Hardware

Primary storage is referred to as Random Access Memory (RAM).

The data stored in RAM is volatile. Volatile data is lost when the computer system is turned off.

Primary Storage:

computer hardware13
Computer Hardware

Secondary storage refers to nonvolatile storage devices.

Secondary Storage:

computer hardware14
Computer Hardware
  • Program not currently being executed
  • Data not needed by currently executing programs
  • Data needed by currently executing programs that does not fit within available primary storage

Secondary Storage devices hold:

computer hardware16
Computer Hardware

Input/Output Devices:

  • Each input/output device is a separate hardware component attached to the system bus.
computer hardware17
Computer Hardware
  • Input devices accept input from a human and convert that input into something the computer can understand.
  • Output devices display information to the user and implement communication among computer systems.
computer hardware18
Computer Hardware

Input devices include:

  • Keyboards
  • Pointing devices
  • Voice recognition

Human-Computer Oriented

computer hardware19
Computer Hardware

Output devices include:

  • Video displays
  • Printers
  • Plotters
  • Devices for speech and sound output
  • Modem
  • Network Interface Units

Human-Computer Oriented

Compute-Computer Oriented


Computer System Classes

  • A Microcomputer is also known as personal computer or workstation is a computer system designed to meet the information-processing needs of a single user.
  • A network computer is a microcomputer with minimal secondary storage capacity and little or no installed software.
  • is designed to provide information processing for multiple users and to execute many application programs simultaneously.
  • is designed to handle the information processing needs of a large number of users and applications.
  • designed for one purpose, to quickly perform many mathematical computations.
  • Computer systems can be loosely classified into the following categories:
    • Microcomputer/Network Computer
    • Minicomputer
    • Mainframe
    • Supercomputer



Computer System Classes

Table 2-2: Representative Products in various computer classes (2004)


computer system classes
Computer System Classes

IBM first introduced POWER CPU in 1990. The architecture was also used by Apple Computer in some of their computers. Currently, the latest generation is POWER5 which includes:

0.13 micron fabrication technology

copper chip wiring

Large on-chip and off-chip memory caches

Simultaneous execution of multiple instructions (multithreading)

Table 2-3: IBM system configurations for POWER CPUs (2002)

computer system classes1
Computer System Classes

IBM first introduced POWER CPU in 1990. The architecture was also used by Apple Computer in some of their computers. Currently, the latest generation is POWER5 which includes:

0.13 micron fabrication technology

copper chip wiring

Large on-chip and off-chip memory caches

Simultaneous execution of multiple instructions (multithreading)

(3-D graphical)

Table 2-3: IBM system configurations for POWER CPUs (2004)

computer system classes2
Computer System Classes
  • Server:
    • Refers to a mode of use for any computer, mini to super, computer system that manages one or more shared resources (i.e. file systems, databases, web sites, printers, high speed CPU and allows users access those resources over a LAN or WAN)
multicomputer configurations
Multicomputer Configurations

Any organization of multiple computers to support a specific set of services or applications

Common configurations







Group of similar or identical computers that cooperate to provide services or execute a common application

Connected by high-speed network

Typically located close to one another

Advantages: scalability and fault tolerance

Disadvantages: complex configuration and administration



Circuit board that contains most of a server

Same advantages and disadvantages as a cluster, but also:

Concentrate more computing power in less space

Are simpler to modify



Group of dissimilar computer systems, connected by high-speed network, that cooperate to provide services or execute a common application

Computers may be in separate rooms, buildings, or continents

Computers work cooperatively at some times, independently at others


  • Set of computing resources with two components:
    • Front-end interfaces
    • Back-end resources
  • Specific way of organizing computing resources for maximum availability and accessibility
  • Minimum complexity in the user or service interface


bigger isn t always better
Bigger Isn’t Always Better

Grosch’s Law (1952) has been rewritten due to:

Multiple classes of computers

Expanded abilities to configure computers for specific purposes

Increased software costs relative to hardware costs

Multicomputer configurations


the role of software
The Role of Software
  • Definition of Software
  • Software Types
  • System Software Layers
  • Operating Systems
  • Application Development Software
the role of software1
The Role of Software

Definition of Software:

Software translates user needs and requests into computer instructions that, when executed, will produce a result that satisfies the need or request.

the role of software2
The Role of Software

Software Types:

  • Application software
  • System software
the role of software3
The Role of Software

Application software is a stored set of instructions for responding to a very specific request.

the role of software4
The Role of Software

System software is a collection of programs that are used to:

  • Implement utility functions needed by many application programs
  • Allocate computer resources to application programs
  • Manage computer resources
    • user end:copy file, install SW, manage personal account,
    • Admin end: create user accounts, install HW, implement security
the role of software5
The Role of Software

Machine Independence or Hardware Independence:

A key advantage to layered approach in software architecture is that the users and applications programmers do not need to know the technical details of computer hardware. They interact with the hardware through a set of standardized service requests.

Machine independence is achieved by placing all hardware interface functions within a single system software layer.

the role of software6
The Role of Software

System Software Layer Functions:

  • System management
    • Utility programs used by end users and system administrators to directly manage and control computer resources
  • System services
    • Utility programs used by system management & application programs to perform common functions
  • Resource allocation
    • Utility programs that allocate HW & resources to multiple users & programs
  • Hardware interface
    • Utility programs that control & interact with HW devices (drivers)
the role of software8
The Role of Software

Operating Systems:

An operating system is a collection of programs that:

  • Provides utility functions needed by users and application programs.
  • Allocates computer resources among multiple users and application programs
  • Controls access to computer hardware
the role of software9
The Role of Software

Operating system functions:

  • Program storage, loading and execution
  • File manipulation and access
  • Secondary storage management
  • Network and interactive user interfaces
the role of software10
The Role of Software

Application Development Software:

Application development software describes programs used to develop other programs.

the role of software11
The Role of Software

Application Development Software:

  • Program translator
  • Program editors
  • Debugging tools
  • System development tools
economics of system and applications development software
Economics of System and Applications Development Software

Three economic facts of computer hardware and software, reasons for software being advanced:

  • System software requires hardware resources.
  • The cost per unit of computing power has decreased at nearly an exponential rate.
  • Software is more cost effective when it is reused many times.
computer networks
Computer Networks

A computer network is a set of hardware and software components that allows information, software and hardware resources to be shared among multiple users and computer systems.

computer networks2
Computer Networks

Computer network functions:

  • External Resources
  • Network Software
  • Network Communication and the Physical Network
computer networks3
Computer Networks

External Resources:

Much of the complexity of modern networks arise from the huge quantity of distributed resources and the difficulties inherent in finding, accessing and managing those resources.

computer networks4
Computer Networks

Network Software:

System Software must:

  • Find the requested resources on the network
  • Negotiate resource access with distant resources allocation software
  • Receive and deliver the resources to the requesting user or program
  • Listen for resource requests
  • Validate resource requests
  • Deliver resources via the network
computer networks5
Computer Networks

Network Communication and the Physical Network:

A computer system requires at least one hardware device to implement its connection to a network.

The physical network is a complex combination of communication protocols, methods of data transmission and network hardware devices

  • A computer is an automated device for performing computational tasks.
  • Computer capabilities include processing, storage, and communication.
  • A computer system consists of a central processing unit, primary storage, secondary storage and input/output devices.
  • A computer system can be classified as a microcomputer, minicomputer, mainframe and supercomputer.
  • The role of software is to translate user processing requests into machine instructions.
  • An operating system is the most important type of system software on most computer systems.
  • A computer network is a set of hardware and software components that permits information, software, and hardware resources to be shared among multiple users and computer systems.