- 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
from The Open University
Alternatively you can skip the navigation by pressing 'Enter'.
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.
5.4 5.4 Conclusion
You have seen that although the three products you have looked at are very different types of computer, they all embody the same basic functionality and a version of Figure 3 can be drawn for each product to illustrate this.
One feature of the PC is the range of forms of secondary memory it can use, and also the variety of input and output devices which the user can choose. The kitchen scales’ embedded computer is relatively simple with no secondary memory and relatively few input and output devices. The computer within the camera has a processor which needs to implement several complex processes to manipulate the image, has secondary memory and has many input and output devices.
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.
If you enjoyed this, why not follow a feed to find out when we have new things like it? Choose an RSS feed from the list below. (Don't know what to do with RSS feeds?)
Remember, you can also make your own, personal feed by combining tags from around OpenLearn.
Tags, Ratings and Social Bookmarking
- climate change (377)
- business (276)
- diaries (193)
- BBC Radio 4 (191)
- food (173)
- points for debate (170)
- bottom line (169)
- Rough Science (162)
- BBC Two (158)
- BBC (153)
- internet (148)
- listings (139)
- Scotland (121)
- Bang goes the Theory (119)
- children (117)
- English Civil War (115)
- Creative Climate (115)
- Thinking Allowed (112)
- recipes (112)
- astronomy (108)
- religion (99)
- sustainability (98)
- marketing (96)
- 20th century (94)
- communication (94)
- Charles I (93)
- evolution (90)
- architecture (86)
- research (86)
- The Bottom Line (85)