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Computers and processors are ubiquitous in everyday life, and they're not only found in your PC. This free course, Computers and computer systems, introduces the different parts of a computer system and their use of binary code. Using the examples of kitchen scales, a digital camera and a computer artwork the course, with the help of flowcharts, discusses how computers process data and instructions .
After studying this course, you should be able to:
- understand what all the terms highlighted in bold in the text mean
- understand the fundamental hardware components that make up a computer’s hardware and the role of each of these components
- understand the difference between an operating system and an application program, and what each is used for in a computer
- describe some examples of computers and state the effect that the use of computer technology has had on some common products
- identify the principal components of a given computer system and draw a diagram after the style of Figures 6 and 12 to represent the data flows between them.
- Learning outcomes
- 1 Computers and processors: introduction
- 2 Computers and computer systems
- 3 Some facts about processors
- 4 Representing data and instructions inside a computer
- 5 Examples of computers
- 6 A look to the future
- 7 Computer programs
- Keep on learning
Study this free course
Enrol to access the full course, get recognition for the skills you learn, track your progress and on completion gain a statement of participation to demonstrate your learning to others. Make your learning visible!
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 free course includes adapted extracts from an Open University course which is no longer available to new students. If you found this interesting you could explore more free Computing courses or view the range of currently available OU Computing courses.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Thursday, 17th March 2016
Last updated on: Thursday, 17th March 2016
- 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 and our FAQs section.
- This site has Copy Reuse Tracking enabled - see our FAQs for more information.
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