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Interactive Arts & Tech
IAT 267
Helmine Serban

Technological Systems Why Study Technological Systems Capabilities Limitations Problem solving Sources for help Abstraction-productivity enhancer -don’t need to worry about details… E.g. Can drive a car without knowing how the internal combustion engine works. -…until something goes wrong E.g. Where’s the dipstick? What’s a spark plug? -it is important to understand the components and how they work together Hardware and Software -it’s not either/or, both are components of a system E.g. Hardware should be considered when designing software Examples include electrical, mechanical, computer-based, hydraulic, etc. Computer-based systems can also be embedded systems (hidden microcontroller) Embedded System-system controlled by an embedded processor E.g. airplane, microwave, heat monitor, traffic lights Microprocessor-a CPU (Computer Processing Unit) on a single IC (integrated circuit) Sensor-a device that measures a physical quality and converts it into a signal which can be read by an observer or by an instrument E.g. temperature sensor, touch sensor, force sensor, light sensor Actuator-a mechanical device for moving or controlling a mechanism or system E.g. motor Computer Systems-tools used to solve problems All computer systems are characterized by two general principles 1) Universal computing device-all computers, given enough time and memory, are capable of computing exactly the same things In theory, a computer can compute anything that’s possible to commute In practice, solving problems involves computing under constraints E.g. time, cost, power Calculating Machines Analog E.g. slider ruler Digital E.g. abacus 2) Transformation between layers-translate any given problem into a solution Problem in our natural language -> Algorithms -> Programming Language -> Instruction Set Architecture -> Microarchitecture -> Circuits -> Devices Problem Statement -stated using natural language -may be ambiguous, imprecise Algorithm -step by step procedure, guaranteed to finish -definiteness, effective computability, finiteness Program -express the algorithm using a computer language -high level language, low level language Instruction Set Architecture -specifies the set of instructions the computer can perform –data types, addressing mode Microarchitecture -detailed organization of a processor implementation -different implementations of a single instruction set architecture Circuits -combine basic operations to realize microarchitecture -many different ways to implement a single function E.g. addition Devices -properties of materials, manufacturability Computer System Key Concepts Purpose of a
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