How Computers Work
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A computer is a machine that manipulates data according to a list of instructions.

The first computer that approaches modern computers was build around 1940, although such projects existed earlier.
We try to make computers more and more compact and faster and according to Kwabena Boahen we have made a terrible mistake.
Our computers work with a 'bottleneck' (all information has to pass through one point) while our brains success lays in the use of a network (information has multiple paths to get to it's destination).

A computer uses 1s and 0s (current/no current) to operate logic circuits which are used then with Boolean logic (or, and ,xor, not, nor, nand).

A computer has two types of memories:

RAM (random access memory):
All opened files, currently running programs and temporary files are saved here.
ROM (read-only memory):
All your files, settings, programs and other things that are not erased when restarting the computer.

Logic operators

Computers are logicians, they use a few so-called binary logic operators: and, or, xor and not (not is unary).

Their truth tables:

A B A and B A or B A xor B not A
1 1 1 1 0 0
1 0 0 1 1
0 1 0 1 1 1
0 0 0 0 0

Thus we conclude:

  • A AND B is true if A and B are both true
  • A OR B is true is A or B is true
  • A XOR B is true if either A or B is true, but not both
  • NOT A is true if A is false.


Assembly is the native language of the processor. There are almost as much assembly languages as there are processors. It is called "2nd generation" programming language, which means that it's just above bit-level. Assembly languages are often very difficult to master.

Operating systems

Linux It is completely free, you can edit it (reprogram it) and very secure. Did you know that 75-80% of the 500 best supercomputers use Linux? (e.g. Apache)
Mac (could someone with knowledge of macs fill this in)
Windows Probably the most well-known operating system.
Everyone knows it, 90% of the world uses it: Windows

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