ITIC:Computers and hardware - Exercises

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Exercises

Here are a few questions on hardware. Since this course material doesn't aim to teach you to actually build hardware, but rather inform you what it is, we only provide questions here, and no "tasks" or exercises.

For Swedish students, there are some questions also in the "Övningshäfte" for the Swedish compendium (page 4).

Misc

What is the hardware used to store information temporarily (until the power goes off) called?

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RAM or memory.

What is the hardware used to store information permanently (even after the power goes off) called?

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Disk. There are several different kinds of disks, e g hard disk. Sometimes this is referred to as persistent memory.

What is the hardware that functions rather much like the brain in the computer? I. e what part of the computer is the one who does the "thinking"?

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CPU - Central Processing Unit.

Give examples of hardware that can be used to communicate with a computer.

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  • screen/monitor/tv
  • The list will be long if we tried to list them all, so we’ll give some examples:
    • keyboard and mouse
    • joystick and game pad
    • gesture detection hardware
    • voice recognition hardware
    • ...

We read somewhere that VR is an output device. We are pretty sure, though, that VR is not an "output device". VR glasses perhaps are. VR usually stands for Virtual Reality, which encompasses much more than hardware.

What is the difference between software and hardware?

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Software are sequences of instructions performed by some kind of hardware, in our case typically the CPU in the computer. The software is not a physical item, although it is stored on some kind of storage media. Hardware is some kind of physical device that can perform some task(s) in relation to the computer. The hardware can be instructed using programs or it can be “hard wired”.

What is the memory in a computer used for?

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The memory is used to store information/data.

When a program is executing (running) it may need to store data temporarily, e g the age of a person or how long (number of seconds) an audio song is. When storing such a value in memory the computer puts that value in a certain place, called an address, in memory (no need to store such a variable permanently on disk). Instead of you and/or your program remembering the address you can name this memory, e g `nr-of-students`. What is such a named memory called?

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Variable.

Storing photos

Let's say that a photo is roughly 8MB. How many photos can you fit in the RAM of size 8GB?

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8GB is 8000 MB. So 8000 MB / 8 MB gives us 1000. Thus, you can store 1000 photos in RAM.

Let's say want to store your photos on disk, which actually makes way more sense given that the disk is not volatile. How many photos can you store on disk of size 800 GB?

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800 GB is 800 000 MB, so 800 000 MB/ 8 MB gives us 100 000. Thus, you can store 100 000 photos on disk.

Storing DVDs

Let's say that a DVD is roughly 8GB. How many DVDs can you fit in the RAM of size 8GB?

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Well, one.

Let's say want to store your DVDs on disk, which actually makes way more sense given that the disk is not volatile. How many DVDs can you store on disk of size 800 GB?

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800 GB / 8 GB gives us 100. Thus, you can store 100 DVDs on disk.

Operating system

Take some time and think about where you think the operating system is stored.

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The operating system is stored on hard disk. But also in RAM since parts of it is loaded (from disk) as soon as the computer boots up. We need to have the OS in RAM since the OS is used all the time - e g when switching between two programs running "at the same time".

If the OS is stored on hard disk and loaded in to RAM when the computer is booting up then we would like you to think about how, or perhaps which software, loads the OS in to RAM.

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There is a small circuit on each computer called with a piece of software called BIOS. This BIOS is loaded automatically by the computer and the BIOS in turn looks for disks (i e hard disk and USB) where an operating system is installed. If the BIOS finds an operating system the BIOS loads this in to RAM. Read more at wikipedia: BIOS.

Links

Where to go next

The next page is Digital representation - Binary.

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