What Makes A Computer A Computer?


What Are Computers Used For?

Computers are used to help with human thinking, either solving problems or displaying data that can help solve them. They're used to manipulate data. A long time ago computers started out as basic calculators, but as time has gone on they have evolved to do all types of things.


How Do They Work?

Computers are made to input, store, process, and then output the information that they recieve. They're made to think like humans, which is what was intended so that they can work alongside us to gather info and solve problems.


Examples

Examples for input include keyboards, mouses, microphones, and any other thing that is used to signal the computer to do something. This information is then "stored" where it can be manipulated and processed to eventually be sent out as an output. Examples of outputs include images, videos, signals, etc.


Binary

Inside a computer, all the info is carried in wires and circuits. Every single wire gives two options: On or off.


the charts below shows how the binary system can get a certain number.

1 0 1 0
8s 4s 2s 1s
1 0 1 0
1x8 0x4 1x2 0x1

1010 = 10

Computers use 0s and 1s to represent the on and off function. In the charts below, you'll see the decimal number system being compared to the binary number system. The goal is to get 65 in their respective charts. You'll see how binary works compared to decimals.

Decimal Number Worksheet

Decimal Digit Multiply Default Value Calculated Value
0 x 10,000,000 0
0 x 1,000,000 0
0 x 100,000 0
0 x 10,000 0
0 x 1,000 0
0 x 100 0
6 x 10 60
5 x 1 5
(0-9)
65 65

Binary Number Worksheet

Binary Digit Multiply Default Value Calculated Value
0 x 256 0
0 x 128 0
1 x 64 64
0 x 32 0
0 x 16 0
0 x 8 0
0 x 4 0
0 x 2 0
1 x 1 1
(0 or 1)
1000001 65

These two worksheets are identical in value. We transferred the number from the decimal number system over to the binary using 0s and 1s.

How to add Binary Numbers

Position Num1 Num2 Result
2's 0 + 0 1
1's 1 + 1 Carry the 1 0
01 + 01 = 10 Decimal 1+1 = 2
- - - - - -
2's 1 + 0 1
1's 0 + 1
10 + 01 = 11 Decimal 2+1 = 3
- - - - - -
4's 1
2's 1 + 1 Carry the 1 0
1's 1 + 0 1
11 + 10 = 101 Decimal 3+2 = 5

These two worksheets are identical in value. We transferred the number from the decimal number system over to the binary using 0s and 1s.


Binary code can also be assigned to certain letters. Here's a potential example of how you could spell out a word with binary:

D O G
4 15 7
00100 01111 00111

Bytes

A "bit" is the smallest piece of info a computer can work with.
1 byte = 8 bits
1 kilobyte = 1,000
1 megabyte = 1,000,000
1 Gigabyte = 1,000,000,000

Circuits and Logic

Circuits are processors that convert specific input signals into the output signal they were designed to convert to.
An example of a circuit is a "not circuit" which flips the input signal, meaning if a 0 is put into it, the output would end up being 1. There's also the "And" circuit. This circuit takes in 2 inputs instead, and the output will only ever be 1 if both of these inputs are also 1.


CPU and Memory

A CPU is a central processing unit, and is used to process the calculations alongside the memory which instructs the CPU on what to do. When you enter any input, like a key on a keyboard, it's converted into binary and set to the memory where it shows the CPU how to display it. From there, the CPU processes the info, and sends the output back to the memory when it's ready.

Hardware and Software

Hardware is physical pieces of machinery inside of a computer, and software is applicatons within the computer.

The operating system is the master program that manages how software uses the hardware of a computer. It allows you to download programs, and decides when to access the computer's input and output devices.

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