Introduction to computers and programming
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Introduction to Computers and Programming. History of computers What is a computer system? What is a software? What is programming? Different languages Compiled vs. interpreted. History of Computers.

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Introduction to computers and programming

Introduction to Computers and Programming

History of computers

What is a computer system?

What is a software?

What is programming?

Different languages

Compiled vs. interpreted

History of computers
History of Computers

  • Don’t mistake computers with calculators or adding machines, who came with the Mayans, Egyptians, etc..

    Computers are programmable. The first calculators were not programmable, hence not considered computers.

    Although many calculators today are programmable, we still distinguish them from computers. A better distinction between them might be the generality of their function – a computer is more a more general computing machine than a calculator.

    However, where to draw the line is difficult. For our purposes, we will continue to use the (archaic) description that calculators are not programmable.

History 1/4

1854 150 years ago pioneer of modern computer
1854 (~150 years ago)Pioneer of modern computer!

Babbage’s difference engine

Device to subtract adjacent valuesin a column of numbers. Created for engineers in charge of creating tables of logarithms and trigonometric functions.

History 2/4

1943 70 years ago came colossus
1943 (~70 years ago).. came Colossus

  • Primarily used for breaking the German codes during World War 2.

  • It would crack Enigma Codes (codes that were cracked by exhaustively shifting text by arbitrary amounts). For example:

    ‘Zsszbj zs 9599’ would be

    ‘Attack at 0600’

History 3/4

Finally the von neumann architecture
Finally, the von Neumann Architecture…

  • The Von Neumanncomputer architecture is mostly what we use today. The architecture separates a computer in 3 major parts:

    • The Central Processing Unit (CPU)

    • The computer memory

    • The Input/Output (I/O) devices



CPU + memory






History 4/4

Software and programming
Software and programming?

  • Microsoft Word, Excel, Guitar Hero, the address book in your cell phone, the electronic that starts a car, the avionics in an airplane… are all softwarethat were written by people.

  • Programming is the act of writing logical instructions that will be executed by the computer.

  • It is as difficult as learning to speak a foreign language, since the programmer is constrained to the vocabulary (specific keywords) and grammar (exact syntax) of programming.

A computer system today
A computer system today

  • Keeping the von Neumann architecture, today’s computing systems combine both hardware and software.

    • Hardware: the physical non-media components of the computer which are used by software

    • Software:the set of instructions used to manipulate the hardware

    • Media: physical items or devices used to store data or software outside of the computer

Parts of a computer
Parts of a computer

  • Examples of Hardware

    • CPU, RAM, motherboard, controllers, video card, DVDROM drive, hard drive

  • Examples of Software

    • Operating system (Windows, OS X, Linux)

    • Applications (Word, Firefox, MATLAB)

    • Drivers (usually considered part of the OS)

    • Compilers / Interpreters

  • Examples of Media

    • CDROM, DVDROM, SD Cards, USB drives [splitting hairs?]

Categories of software
Categories of software

  • Software contains the instructions the CPU uses to run programs. There are several categories, including:

    • Operating systems(OS) – manager of the computer system as a whole

    • Software applications– commercial programs that have been written to solve specific problems

    • Compilers / Interpreters- to ‘translate’ programs written by people into something understandable by the machine

Generations of languages used to write software
Generations of Languages used to write software

1) Machine language – also

called binary language. Sequence

of 0’s and 1’s.

2) Assembly language – each line of code produces a single machine instruction (add, subtract…), see bottom of page 11.

3) High-level language – slightly closer to spoken languages.

add b,c

add a,b

a= a + b + c;

This line does the same as the two above.

Finally matlab
Finally… MATLAB

  • Is an interpretedlanguage – does not require compilation, but instead has an interpreter running behind the scenes

  • Has an interactiveenvironment –

    • “In the MATLAB environment, you can develop and execute programs that contain MATLAB commands. You can execute a MATLAB command, observe the results, and then execute another MATLAB command that interacts with the information in memory, observe its results and so on.”

Internet vs www
Internet vs. WWW?

The Internet is a set of computers which communicate using a set of communication protocols, or agreements, to achieve the desired goals.

Examples of Internet protocols (application layer):

  • HTTP (World Wide Web)

  • FTP (File Transfer Protocol)

  • POP3 (Post Office Protocol)

  • SMTP (Simple Mail Transport Protocol)

  • DNS (Domain Name Service)

    The WWW is just one of many means of using the Internet