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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