Week 2: September 29 - October 3


Hardware, Processing, and Peripherals of computing systems. Book: Chapters 1 & 2

If you are still awaiting financial aid, you can sign into the computers as a guest: just hit enter at the open login, then enter again. This should work for the first 2 weeks. BUT, you need to take care of your payments and registration this week, because Open Logins will close after THIS Friday.


ITC AGREE: Syllabus Agreement (required), due Sunday, October 5




NERD ALERT!!! Bill Gates and Paul Allen

Bill Gates and Paul Allen computers image

A computer is a programmable machine designed to sequentially and automatically carry out a sequence of arithmetic or logical operations (from wikipedia). Basically, all computers really do is accept input, process info, provide output, and store info. The processor, which handles all input and output, can handle only small amounts of data, so the rest needs to be held in memory and fed as the processor frees up. They essentially work like the human brain but in a much more controlled, programmed, and linear fashion.

  • Mainframe: A high-end commercial machines, supercomputers, bulk processors.
  • Servers: A physical computer (host) that serves the needs of users of other computers on a network (clients).
  • Personal: A general-purpose computer designed for individual use.
Computer History
  • 1936: first programmable computer, which could carry out a finite set of arithmetic or logical operations.
  • 1947/48: The transistor is a semiconductor device used to amplify and switch electronic signals and electrical power on and off.
  • 1952: IBM programmed the first self learning computer to play checkers. The FORTRAN scientific programming language was developed in 1957.
  • 1958: The integrated circuit, a set of electronic circuits on one "chip" of semiconductor material. Sort of like a biological Brain Neuron - a cell and the transmitting dendrites (say in the brain).
  • 1960s: Central processing unit (CPU), which is hardware within a computer that carries out the instructions of a computer program by performing the basic arithmetical, logical, and input/output operations of the system. Sort of like the Human Brain's Cerebrum.
  • 1964: IBM created the first computer system family for commercial and scientific use.
  • 1971: Computer microprocessor, which incorporates the functions of a computer's central processing unit on a single or several integrated circuits, or chips The current incarnation of the Central Processing Unit /CPU.
  • 1974/75: First consumer computer (Apple 1 in 1976, TRS-80 in 1977)
  • 1981: The IBM PC - home computer was introduced, leading later to the Commodore 64 in 1982, Macintosh OS in 1984, and the Windows 1.0 on the IBM compatible computers in 1985)
  • Microsoft Windows OS and Mac OS, and IBM compatible equipment / Apple Macintosh equipment have been competing ever since. The Linux iperation system kernal was released in 1991 and has added to the operating systems' mix.
Computer Basics - hardware

Hardware refers to the parts of a computer that you can see and touch, including the case and everything inside it.

  • Computer shapes: desktop, laptop, pads, handheld.
  • Computer types: IBM/Clone PCs (generic), Apple Macs
Computer hardware includes:
  • Inside Your Computer Video
  • Motherboard: The main printed circuit board (PCB) found in computers and other expandable systems; it holds many of the electronic components of the system and provides connectors for other peripherals.
  • Integrated Circuit: A set of electronic circuits on one small plate ("chip") of semiconductor material, normally silicon. CPU, RAM, etc. Generally the chip is a small, thin piece of silicon onto which the transistors making up the microprocessor have been etched. A chip might be as large as an inch on a side and can contain tens of millions of transistors. Simpler processors might consist of a few thousand transistors etched onto a chip just a few millimeters square.
  • CPU: The hardware within a computer that carries out the instructions of a computer program by performing the basic arithmetical, logical, and input/output operations of the system.
  • Memory controller circuit: A digital circuit which manages the flow of data going to and from the main memory, the RAM.
  • RAM: Allows stored data to be accessed directly in any random order; serves as temporary storage and working space for the operating system and applications.
  • ROM: Hard-wired, non-volatile memory; use for data storage and storage of computer programs.
  • Cards (video, audio): An expansion card (printed circuit board) that can be inserted into an electrical connector or expansion slot on a computer motherboard to add functionality to a computer system.
  • Cables: Allow connecting devices to a computer.
  • Battery: A device consisting of one or more electrochemical cells that convert stored chemical energy into electrical energy.
  • Modems (internal, radio/wifi, and broadband/DSL): A device that modulates an analog carrier signal to encode digital information, and also demodulates such a carrier signal to decode the transmitted information. For networking.
  • Fan(s): Used for active cooling of computer components; draw cooler air into the case from the outside, expel warm air from inside, move air across a heat sink to cool a particular component. etc.
  • Computer slots: An interface between the computer and other computers or peripheral devices - a specialized outlet to which a plug or cable connects, such as the serial port, parallel port (printer), USB, etc.
  • In our class: Hardware = The computer and its insides, keypad, mouse, speakers
  • PC Insides image: Check it out!
Interesting Links
*Several links to Wikipedia




  • Computer Basics - processing and peripherals
  • Q&A if any
  • Syllabus Agree Info


Processing components

Computer systems - These are like the calculating and sorting parts of our Brain.

  • The power-on self test (POST) checks the CPU, memory, and basic input-output systems (BIOS) for errors and stores the result in a special memory location.
  • BIOS: The Basic Input/Output System, which makes sure all the other chips, hard drives, ports and CPU function together.
  • Processes: Schedules the work done by the processor (CPU).
  • Drivers: These translate between the electrical signals of the hardware subsystems and the high-level programming languages of the operating system and application programs. 
  • Services: A system process that runs independent of any program. Some run automatically, like for your printer, while other services only start when activated by a program that uses that service, such as the HTTP SSL service that activates to secure your end of the link when you go to a secured website. 
  • Chipset: A set of electronic components in an integrated circuit that connects to and manages the data flow between the processor, memory and peripherals - a set of specialized chips on a computer's motherboard, and/or an expansion card.
  • Controllers (video, ethernet, etc.): A chip, expansion card, or stand-alone device that interfaces with a peripheral device - like interface with a graphics card or a keyboard.
  • Bus: A communication system/hardware that transfers data between components inside a computer (internal bus), or between the computer and peripherals and/ or other computers (external bus).
    • An address bus (that may be 8, 16 or 32 bits wide) sends an address to memory.
    • data bus (that may be 8, 16 or 32 bits wide) can send data to or receive data from memory.

Computer space: Like the memory storage of our Brain.

  • RAM: Allows stored data to be accessed directly in any random order; serves as temporary storage and working space for the operating system and applications.
  • ROM: Hard-wired, non-volatile memory; use for data storage and storage of computer programs.
  • Cache: A component that transparently stores data so that future requests for that data can be served faster. Small memory caches on or close to the CPU can operate faster than the much larger main memory.
  • Hard disk drive (HDD): A data storage device used for storing and retrieving digital information using rapidly rotating disks (platters) coated with magnetic material, and which retains data even when the computer is powered off.
  • External Hard Storage: disks, USB drives, external hard drives.
Computer Processing goes like this
  • QuickVideo - Inside a Puter (TED Ed)
  • The basic operation cycle of a computer is the Fetch-Decode-Execute cycle, by which a computer retrieves a program instruction from its memory, determines what actions the instruction requires, and carries out those actions. 
  • Input (based on input devices like the on button, keyboard) requests information from software.
  • CPU/microprocessor responds to the input of hard drive space software instructions.
  • CPU starts moving active instructions and data to the Main Memory (the computer's temporary read-write dynamic RAM area) to organize and speed processing, using the Memory Controller. This is a repeating fetch, decode, execute process.
  • CPU gets help from attached static RAM cache space, which speeds up access to the dynamic RAM.
  • CPU starts processing instructions and sending signals, through the buses, to appropriate units like the video, audio, and peripheral cards, then discards/stores finished info/actions as it gets more new info to process.
  • Secondary memory (ROM - read only memory - hard drive memory chips, external disks) is where the body of information the computer stores goes for later use.
In Human Terms:
  • Alarm goes off (the computer on-button).
  • Human comes partly awake and aware (Bios, startup of Operating System).
  • Human shuts alarm off (Operating System beginning to act and make hardware connections).
  • Human smells coffee (Input).
  • Human recognizes smell of coffee (RAM) and decides to take action (Processing).
  • Human sits up (Output).
  • Human heads to coffee (more Output, also partly based on ROM info in brain storage as to where coffee is and what it does).
A Bit about Capacity
  • Data/Computer Bus: a subsystem (a collection of wires connecting two or more devices) that transfers data between components inside a computer, or between computers. For instance, local buses between internal components would be faster than peripheral buses to external peripherals. Think of this like Blood Vessels.
  • System bus: a single computer bus that connects the major components of a computer system. A system can use expansion cards to expand capability. Think of this like a Heart.
  • Address bus: a computer bus that is used to connect the CPU and main memory and specify a physical address, like a specific memory address location on the computer. The bit-width of the address bus determines the amount of memory a system can address. Think of this like Synapses in the brain.
What are Computer Bit types
  • Bit systems: The bit system of a computer is based on the capacity of external buses, as well as a computer's chipset and motherboard limitations. The bit-size is based on the bus size even if they have some higher bit internal capabilities.
  • 8-bit computer: CPUs that can access 8 bits of data in a single machine instruction, or the number of bits used to represent memory addresses.
  • 16-bit computer: CPUs that can access 16 bits of data, like those in early x86 computers in the 80s, and Motorola 68000 Mac models.
  • 32-bit computer: CPUs that can access 32 bits of data, like those in later x86, Pentium computers and through Windows XP, and the Motorola 68020 and later Macs.
  • 64-bit computer: CPUs that can access 64 bits of data, like those in Vista and later Windows OS computers, and Mac OS X 10.5 and later.
  • Higher bit computers are backwards compatible in use. Their operating systems and various programs may not be.
Computer Cores
  • CPU: A computer can have more than one CPU; modern CPUs are microprocessors, meaning contained on a single chip, and some integrated circuits can contain multiple CPUs on a single chip.
  • CPU Core: Also refers to a single microprocessor on an integrated circuit/chip. More cores can increase multitasking capability.
  • CPU Clock Speed: The frequency at which a CPU is running. Can seem to speed activity.
  • Multi-core: a type of microprocessor design in which the same integrated circuit/chip actually has more than one microprocessor on it. These processors work together to boost a computer's processing capability. Having a multicore CPU means that the processor can work on more than one problem at a time, or it can work on a large problem more efficiently.
  • Intel cores: a family of single-core and multi-core 32-bit (x86) and 64-bit CPUs released by Intel - like duos, quad, i5, etc. These can include 2, 4, and 6 microprocessors at use in a single computer. AMD is another company that offers Athlon and other series of CPU cores too.
  • These cores have built-in CPU caches, which is small memory space on or close to the CPU which can feed instructions even faster than the much larger main memory (RAM).
  • PCs: Intel and AMD processors
  • MACs: Intel Processors
  • Tablets: Android Tablets use 32-bit or 64-bit ARM architecture (a reduced instruction set computing (RISC) architecture), which require fewer transistors, which also integrate RAM and graphics into a single silicon chip, and there reduces costs, heat and power use. Tablet PCs that run Windows tend to use 2-chip, low power, lower clock-speed Atom processors that implement the x86 based instruction set.
  • The peripherals of a computer include the hardware pieces that allow a user to make requests of the computer and receive a human-translatable result of the request.
  • Image of INPUT/OUTPUT Process.
  • Input: mouse, keyboard, cameras, touchscreen monitor, stylus pen, scanner.
  • Output: monitor, printer, speakers.
  • Computer media: DVD/CD reader/writer, USB Flash drives, memory cards.
  • USB 2.0 vs USB 3.0 (SS USB): The USB protocol and electrical interface are different and needs a physically separate channel to carry USB 3.0 traffic, hence separate USB ports on the Seattle Central computers.
  • In our class: Peripherals = DVD/CD drive, headphones, USB Flash Drive.


*Several links to Wikipedia




Computer Basics



  • ITC AGREE: Syllabus Agreement, due Sunday, October 5. True/False Quiz on CANVAS tool. Required to stay in class.
  • ITC EXTRA 1: Word Search, 2 points. Print out, have fun, turn in the print-out before Wednesday, Octoberr 22.