- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1 1 Computers and processors: introduction
- 2 2 Computers and computer systems
- 3 3 Some facts about processors
- 4 4 Representing data and instructions inside a computer
- 5 5 Examples of computers
- 6 6 A look to the future
- 7 7 Computer programs
- 8 Next steps
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Computers and computer systems
Computers and processors are ubiquitous in everyday life, and they're not only found in...
Computers and processors are ubiquitous in everyday life, and they're not only found in your PC. This unit introduces the different parts of computer systems and their use of binary code. Using the examples of kitchen scales, a digital camera and a computer artwork the unit, with the help of flowcharts, discusses how computers process data and instructions .
After studying this unit you will:
- know what all the terms highlighted in bold in the text mean;
- know the fundamental hardware components that make up a computer’s hardware and the role of each of these components;
- know the difference between an operating system and an application program, and what each is used for in a computer;
- be able to describe some examples of computers and state the effect that the use of computer technology has had on some common products;
- be able to identify the principal components of a given computer system and draw a diagram after the style of Figures 6 and 12 in this unit to represent the data flows between them.
Computers and computer systems
There is more to computers and processors than simply PCs. In fact computers are ubiquitous in everyday life. This unit challenges how we view computers through the examples of processors in kitchen scales and digital cameras, as well as a work of art that, at heart, is a computer.
This unit is from our archive and is an adapted extract from Computers and processors (T224) which is no longer taught by The Open University. If you want to study formally with us, you may wish to explore other courses we offer in.
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This is an extract from an Open University course which is no longer available to new students. If you found this interesting you could explore more free Computing course units or view the range of currently available OU Computing courses.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Thursday, 17th October 2013
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements section.
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