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CMPT 129 (1)
Chapter 1

CMPT 129 Chapter 1: Chapter 1

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Computing Science
CMPT 129
Janice Regan

Chapter1:Introductionto Computersand Programming 1.1 Why Program? • A program is a set of instructions that a computer follows to perform a task o Commonly referred to as a software • A programmer or software developer is a person with the training and skills necessary to design, create, and test computer programs Computer Systems: Hardware and Software Hardware • Refers to the physical components that a computer is made of The CPU • Central Processing Unit • Part of a computer that actually runs programs • Most important component in a computer because without it, the computer could not run software • Today, CPUs are small chips known as microprocessors • Job is to fetch instructions, follow instructions, and produce a result • Consists of 2 parts o Control unit: coordinates all of the computer’s operations. Responsible for determining where to get the next instruction and regulating the other major components of the computer with control signals o Arithmetic and logic unit (ALU): designed to perform mathematical operations • When a computer is running a program, CPU is engaged in a process known as fetch/decode/execute cycle o FETCH: CPU’s control unit fetches, from main memory, the next instruction on the sequence of program instructions o DECODE: The instruction is encoded in the form of a number. The control unite decodes the instruction and generates an electronic signal o EXECUTE: The signal is routed to the appropriate component of the computer (such as ALU, a disk drive etc.). The signal causes the component to perform an operation Main Memory • Computers work area • Where a program is stored while the program is running as well as the data that the program is working with • Commonly known as random-access memory (RAM) o CPU is able to quickly access data stored at any random location in RAM • RAM is usually a volatile type of memory that is used only for temporary storage while a program is running • When the computer is turned off, the contents of RAM are erased • RAM is stored in small chips • Memory is divided into tiny storage locations known as bytes o One byte is enough memory to store only a letter of the alphabet or a small number • Each byte is divided into 8 smaller storage locations known as bits o bit stands for binary digit o Bits are tiny electrical components that can hold either a positive or a negative chare • Each byte is assigned
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