ACS 1803 STUDY QUESTIONS 1
(The following questions are intended to help guide your studying. Be sure to
emphasize understanding of how all the ideas fit together - until you feel that you can
explain these ideas to someone else. You do not need to hand in these questions.)
1. Why is a computer referred to as a system? What components make up the
architecture of a computer system?
Arhitecture: first input -----> central processing unit + main memory(internal) and
some auxillary storage(external) ----> output
A computer is referred to as a system because it has many parts that work
together to achieve a common goal. Each part plays a role in the system, to get
a desirable outcome.
2. What is the job of the central processing unit? What are the roles of the control unit
and the ALU? What are the basic properties of main memory? What is the
CPU stands for Central Processing Unit, also called the microprocessor, it's task
is to perform all the operations of your microcomputer, The CPU or
microprocessor is what gets your computer usable, when you start up your
computer the CPU is what loads your operation system(i.e. Windows Vista)
The ALU deals with the mathematics of the computer(including all forms of
addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division). While the control unit works
closely with the arithmetic logic unit(ALU) by fetching and decoding instructions,
as well as retrieving and storing data.
3. At the level of CPU workings, what is a machine language instruction? How is a
program consisting of several machine language instructions executed in the CPU?
The majority of microcomputers today use the binary code ACSII, which stands
for American Standard Code for Information Interchange. ACSII simply
represents letters, numbers, and any other characters in binary form. It uses the
same concept of binary coding as stated to translate English for the computer
and vice versa. Machine language is made up of binary codes as previously
stated. The 1's and 0's as already stated are individual bits, now eight bits make
a byte, which is equivalent to one letter or number we type in. Now once the
computer(machine) has decoded or translated what you have entered it can
execute your instructions onto your computer screen. Ex.) 008 003 first part(008)
is the opcode which loads the address 003 into the accumulator of the ALU.
Several machine language instructions can be executed in the CPU using a
compiler or translator(third generation languages).?
4. What does it mean that all machine language instructions and data for these
instructions must be stored in electronic form? How can numbers be stored
Well it means that everything needs to be turned into 1's and 0's, a 1 is a high
voltage current the computer recognizes as an on command, and a 0 is a low
voltage current the computer recognizes as an off command.
5. What is a bit, a byte? What is "K bytes", "one Megabyte", one Gigabyte? Distinguish
between the terms "hardware" and "software".
A bit is a single digit can be a 0 or 1. One byte is 8 bits which is equal to one
letter or number we type into our computer.
Hardware is the physical computer components such as the CPU or keyboard.
While Software is a program or set of programs that tell the computer to perform certain processing functions.
6. Although all programs, when they are executed in the CPU, must be in machine
language, programs are not normally written in machine language. What is assembly
language? How does it relate to machine language? Why is it called a low-level
Assembly language is symbolic machine language.
A translation program(assembler), itself in machine language, would translate
this code into actual machine language for the CPU.
Second generation assembly language is low level, it is called low level because
one statement in assembly language translates into one statement in machine
language. A complicated, real world problem, still had to be broken down into
small steps for the CPU.
7. What makes it possible to store "real world" characters other than numbers in
ASCII(American Standard Code for Information Interchange): An eight-bit code
for representing numbers, letters, and other characters in binary form.
8. What is a third-generation, or high-level language? How does it relate to machine
Third generation languages(high-level) make it possible to translate one
statement into many statements in machine language. To program a
complicated problem, we don't have think on machine language, we can uses a
translator or compiler that translates 3GL to machine language. However, in a
3GL, we still have to tell the computer both WHAT and HOW to do it.
9. Why are there different high-level languages available?
More user friendly as technology advancements increase.
Different uses for different levels, depending on complexity and details of the
10. What is a fourth-generation language? How does it differ from a third-generation
language? Why is a 4GL appealing to people who are not computer specialists? What
is a non-procedural user-oriented applications "package" for the microcomputer?
Fourth generation language also called outcome-oriented languages, are
commonly used to write and execute queries of a database. Fourth generation
is much more user friendly than third, and in fourth as apposed to third we don't
have to tell them HOW to do it.
Those are programs like word processers and web browsers, users still have to
tell the computer WHAT to do but not HOW to do it, where in 3GL's you have to
tell it WHAT to do and HOW to do it
11. What are the main differences between mainframes, minicomputers,
microcomputers, and supercomputers?
Mainframe computers are a very large computer that is used as the main, central
computing system for many major corporations and governmental agencies.
Minicomputers are smaller mainframes.
Microcomputers is a category of computer that is generally used for personal
computing, for small business computing, and as a workstation attached to large
computers or to other small computers on a network.
Supercomputers are the most expensive and most powerful category of
computers. It is primarily used to assist in solving massive research and
scientific problems. 12. Why, in addition to main memory (primary storage), do we need "secondary"
storage? What are primary characteristics of tape storage? What is a disadvantage of
Secondary storage is non-volatile which means the information stored in it wont
get lost when the computer is turned off. It is a method for permanently storing
data to a large-capacity storage component, such as a hard disk, diskette, CD-
ROM, or tape.
Primary characteristics of tape storage is it consists of narrow plastic tape coated
with a magnetic substance. Storage tapes range from inch wide and wound
on a reel, to inch wide wound into a plastic cassette that looks much like a
music cassette tape. It is used for storing large amounts of computer
A disadvantage of them is that the computers must scan an entire tape to find a
specific data file, while disks are easier to locate information and more reliable.
13. How is data stored on magnetic disk?
The plastic surface contains tiny metallic crystals. To write information to the
disk, a laser beam melts a small spot on the plastic surface of the disk, then a
magnet rearranges the metallic crystals while the plastic is still hot and
malleable. The crystals are arranged so that some reflect light while others
don't, the ones that do reflect light can later be read by a laser.
14. What is the advantage of a CD-ROM over a magnetic disk?
It is inexpensive, reliable, and provides abundant storage capacity.
14b. Know main properties of common input and output units.
Keyboard's are the main input device that is used to enter text and numbers into
A mouse is another input device that is used to select different options on your
computer screen. Scanners, etc. more input devices
Monitors are used to display information from a computer, they consist of a
cathode ray tube(CRT), which is smaller to a tv but with higher resolution.
Printers: various types but an ink-jet printer uses a small cartridge to transfer ink
With the use of a small specialized speakers and a sound card, a computer can
produce stereo quality sound.
15. What is the difference between "system software" and "application software"?
Application software are programs intended to solve problems outside of the
computer itself., while Systems Software is behind-the-scenes programs which
help the computer hardware to run.
Systems software is a bunch of programs working together to control the basic
operations of your computer's hardware. An operating system such as Windows
as previously stated or Linux are types of systems software.
An example of an application software would be Microsoft Word. Application
software interacts with systems software, which then interacts with the
16.What is an "operating system"? What are some of its main functions within a
An operating system is used to organize the interaction between yourse