Computer literacy is a must-have skill for every individual living in the 21st century. For students, especially, it is of utmost importance. It is the knowledge of computer among other things that makes a student employable and enables him to contribute towards the development of the nation in the long run. In our present-day education system, computer science is a mandatory part of every curriculum. Students have to learn the basics of the computer and number system early on and then add on to the fundamentals as they grow up.
Basics of Computer
The basics of computer encompass the following topics:
What is a Computer?
A computer is a machine that accepts data in the form of input and provides the final output as processed data in the form of information. Computers are connected in large numbers to form a network, allowing the former to communicate with each other. It is composed of:
The physical components of a computer such as a mouse, keyboard, and monitor are known as hardware. Software is an application that makes a computer work. It is a set of instructions, programs, or data used to operate on a computer to execute a particular task. A software application includes a database, word processor, web browser, etc.
Architecture of a Computer
Computer architecture is a set of procedure that describes the functionality, organization, and execution of computer systems.
The essential components of a computer system are:-
1. Central Processing Unit (CPU): The CPU is known as the core of a hardware component of a computer. It is mainly used for executing instructions such as arithmetic calculations and comparisons among data used in the system. It comprises two components:
Arithmetic Logic Unit
Arithmetic Logical Unit: The ALU performs arithmetic and logical operations.
Control Unit: The Control Unit (CU) manages the system components, like timing and data transfer between the components, etc.
2. Memory: Memory is the place where all data are stored during execution. There are two types of memory:-
Main Memory: this is the place where all data are stored temporarily.
Auxiliary Memory: this is the place where all data are stored permanently.
3. I/O Devices: The Input devices allow users to provide data and instructions to the computer system and the output devices allow the computer to provide the result of the computation to the users.
Input devices: keyboard, mouse, etc.
Output devices: printer, monitor, etc.
The history of computer and its various generations, types of computer and computer languages, and a brief idea of the latest computer technology are also integral to the basics of computer.
Whenever we type any word or letter, the computer translates it into numbers because it can understand only numbers. A number system a system to represent using some specific symbols and/or digits. In the context of computer science, there are four number systems:-
Decimal Number System
The decimal number system is the number system that we use in our day-to-day life. The decimal number system takes the base as 10. It consists of ten single-digit numbers ranging from 0-9. Each digit has its own significance based on the position.
For example, the value of 786 is
$= 7 \times 102 + 8 \times 101 + 6 \times 100$
Binary Number System
All binary numbers are made up of 0 and 1. These numbers have many uses in the digital world. Example of a binary number system is =10011
Units to Measure Data
On the smallest scale in a computer, any information or data is stored in bits and bytes.
A Bit is the smallest unit for storage. A bit can either be 0 or 1. A group of 8 bits together form 1 byte.
Octal Number System
It is an 8-base number system, and the digits range from 0 to 7. The octal number system is used when a number of bits in one word are a multiple of three.
For example, $(24)_8$ in decimal is
$=2\times 81 + 4 \times 80$
Hexadecimal Number System
It is known as 16 base number systems. It uses 10 digits and 6 letters. The letters represent the number starting from 10. The Hexadecimal number signifies 0 power of the base. The following hexadecimal symbols are 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9, A, B, C, D, E, and F.
The basics of computer and number systems are only the stepping stone to learning the fascinating subject of computer science. It ignites the inquisitiveness about this disruptive technology in young minds and inspires them to gain further knowledge in it as they grow up.