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Chapter 2: Computer Systems. Computer Hardware. The physical pieces of a computer system, such as a central processing unit (CPU), a microprocessor, a printer, a disk drive, or a modem Something you can touch. Evolution of Computer Systems.

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Computer hardware
Computer Hardware

  • The physical pieces of a computer system, such as a central processing unit (CPU), a microprocessor, a printer, a disk drive, or a modem

  • Something you can touch

Evolution of computer systems
Evolution of Computer Systems

  • First Generation - 1946-1959 - vacuum tubes, rotating drum memory

  • Second Generation - 1959-1964 - transistors, magnetic core memory

  • Third Generation - 1964-1979 - integrated circuits, semiconductor memory, operating systems

  • Fourth Generation - 1979-present - LSI and VLSI circuits, communications

Basic components of computers
Basic Components of Computers

  • Input/Output

  • Computer Memory

  • Arithmetic/Logical Unit

  • Computer Files

  • Control Unit


Control Unit

Arithmetic/ Logical Unit





Stored program concept
Stored Program Concept

  • The concept of preparing a precise list of exactly what the computer is to do (this list is called a program), loading or storing this program in the memory of the computer, and then letting the control unit carry out the program at electronic speed. The program must be in a form that the control unit of the computer has been built to understand.

Types of computers
Types of Computers

  • Microcomputers

  • Workstations

  • Midrange computers (minicomputers)

  • Mainframes

  • Supercomputers

  • These categories are listed in general order of increasing size, power, and cost

Network computer netpc
Network Computer / NetPC

  • Basic idea of both is a stripped down, less expensive PC for users who will always be connected to a network

  • Network Computer would have minimal memory, processor, disk storage (perhaps no hard drive)

  • NetPC (Microsoft) would be more powerful so that Windows could be implemented locally

Risc chips
RISC Chips

  • Reduced Instruction Set Computing

  • By working with a reduced instruction set, designers were able to create a smaller, faster chip than had been possible previously

  • Basis for HP 9000, IBM RISC/6000, Sun SPARCsystem, other high-powered workstations

Cache memory
Cache Memory

  • Very high speed, high cost storage unit

  • Used as an intermediary between pieces of the computer that operate at quite different speeds

  • Example -- between the control unit (microprocessor) and main memory

  • Example -- between disk drive and data channel


  • A hardware device to link input/output or file devices to the CPU and memory of large computer systems

  • A highly specialized processor which manages the operation of its attached devices to free the CPU from these tasks

Data channel
Data Channel

  • A specialized input/output processor (a computer) that takes over the function of device communication from the CPU

  • The role of the data channel is to correct for the speed mismatch between the slow peripheral devices and the very fast CPU

Symmetric multiprocessor
Symmetric Multiprocessor

  • Multiprocessor machine in which all of the processors (CPUs) are identical, with each processor operating independently of the others

  • This design technique is used in most mainframes and an increasing number of midrange machines

Parallel processor pp
Parallel Processor (PP)

  • A multiprocessor configuration (multiple CPUs installed as part of a single computer system) designed to give a separate piece of the same program to each of the processors so that work on the program can proceed in parallel on the separate pieces

Massively parallel processor mpp
Massively Parallel Processor (MPP)

  • A parallel processing computer with some large number of parallel processors

  • 32 or more parallel CPUs if the different CPUs are capable of performing different instructions at the same time

  • 1000 or more parallel CPUs if the different CPUs must all carry out the same instruction at the same time

Changing nature of hardware
Changing Nature of Hardware

  • Decreasing price/performance ratio -- faster and cheaper

  • Increasing miniaturization

  • Increasing multimedia (data, video, sound)

  • More plug-and-play and portability

  • Greater management complexity due to linking of distributed, cross-platform technologies

The information technology industry
The Information Technology Industry

  • The Information Technology industry is the largest industry in the world, by far.

  • Let’s look at the primary players.