Most people are familiar with computers. You might use a computer to quickly calculate a complicated mathematical equation, to give commands to a complex machine, or to create those special effects you see in movies. Computers control almost every electrical device we use—from your home printer to the International Space Station.
To understand what goes on inside a computer, first you need to learn a few basic terms. Let’s break it down:
Digital systems include devices like computers, MP3 players, high-definition TVs, and more. They are created with digital logic devices—specialized electrical circuits built from transistors, diodes, and resistors. By arranging these electrical components in various ways, logic functions are created.
Digital logic functions determine how digital signals are processed. You could say that digital logic functions are the basic building blocks of computer systems. When logic functions are combined, they produce digital systems.
When designing new computer systems, engineers and technicians combine special digital logic circuits (part of what we call computer hardware) to create unique functions that make the computer perform specific tasks.
Computer hardware is needed in order for computer instructions or software to be processed or executed within the machine. A computer program is the set of commands defining what a computer does at any given time. In other words, a program is made up of a sequence of instructions to the computer.
The computer is a common digital system. In this section, we will see how computers are programmed to do many fascinating tasks simply by manipulating ones and zeros.
In this section, you will learn to
- define key technology terms
- identify key technologies and inventors
- define digital logic terms
- define and implement the binary numbering system
- define and implement the hexadecimal numbering system
- define and use ASCII
- define and evaluate logic gates
- define and use unit conversions