Elvis Moreno of Yonkers, New York is an IT industry professional, and computer hobbyist. In the following article, Elvis Moreno discusses the architecture of the computer, that allows them to understand, retain, and retrieve information.
The term “computer architecture” is nothing more than the framework for understanding how computers work and perform tasks. A computer’s operation depends on hardware, software, and communication components, which include CPUs, memory, input/output devices, and storage units.
Elvis Moreno of Yonkers, New York explains that it encompasses everything from lines of text to spreadsheet digits to dots of colors to sound patterns to the system’s appearance thanks to this fundamental aspect of computer science.
Elvis Moreno Explains the Components
Without certain components, computer architecture would cease to exist. As a result, computers themselves would disappear. Each element plays a vital role in constructing a functional, workable architecture for basic and complex computing.
Today’s digitally focused society has brought many unique input devices (i.e., those that connect external data sources to the computer) to the forefront — VR headsets included. However, keyboards and mice remain the most common input devices, both of which have hardware drivers that sync with the architecture’s other components.
Elvis Moreno says that unsurprisingly, outputs are the inverse. They deliver the computer’s results to the user, with different output devices sending different media types. Headphones, for example, deliver sound, while printers spit out hardcopy text.
All computers have multiple memory/storage units, but they weren’t created equally. Instead, they’re categorized into primary and secondary storage.
Otherwise known as the main memory, it’s directly accessible by the CPU and used for storing instructions and information throughout program execution. Experts note the two major types are random access memory (RAM) and read-only memory (ROM).
The former, as a temporary memory, supplies relevant information directly to the CPU. The latter holds pre-installed instructions and firmware. Unlike RAM, it’s persistent and can’t be changed due to its role in booting the machine upon startup.
Elvis Moreno of Yonkers, New York says that the CPU can’t directly access secondary/external storage (i.e., solid-state drives (SSDs), hard disk drives (HDDs), and similar). Instead, information must be transferred to primary storage for CPU access.
Central Processing Unit (CPU)
Many industry professionals consider the central processing unit to be the brain of the machine. And just like human brains, it’s a complex part of computer architecture, comprising many sub-components like registers, arithmetic logic units (ALUs), and control circuits.
Elvis Moreno of Yonkers, New York notes that essentially, its job is to interpret and execute instructions, working with the other sections of the structure to make sense of the information and ensure it offers the appropriate output.
Diving deeper into the CPU unveils a world of integral sub-elements explained briefly by professionals as follows:
- Registers are purpose-built, high-speed memory devices that are accessed/modified by the CPU directly. They hold data the CPU is actively processing, such as intermediate results, commands, and addresses.
- The ALU holds electrical circuitry that performs arithmetic (i.e., additions, divisions, etc.) and logical (i.e., AND, OR, etc.) processes on provided information.
- The control unit works directly with input/output devices, instructing the computer to run stored program instructions by communication with the CPU’s ALU and registers.
Located in the firmware, the bootloader is run by the processors that gets the operating system from the disc, loading it into the memory for execution. It’s found on workstation and desktop computers, alongside embedded devices, making it one of the most vital components of computer architecture.
Operating System (OS)
Elvis Moreno notes that the OS governs the functionality above firmware, managing memory usage and regulating input/ouput devices. As most slightly tech-savvy individuals will know, it also offers an interface that lets them launch apps and utilize stored data.
Buses, tangible bunches of signal lines, all have the same purpose (like USBs, for instance). They enable the flow of electrical impulses between components, letting information pass from one section to the next.
Elvis Moreno of Yonkers, New York says, referred to as traps or exceptions by some experts, interrupts redirect the processor from running the current task so it can deal with an occurrence, such as a peripheral malfunction or an input/output device has completed its previous job and is awaiting a new one.
Computer Architecture isn’t a One-Size-Fits-All Concept
Elvis Moreno of Yonkers, New York says that unbeknownst to many, computer architecture isn’t entirely linear. Experts configure the above-mentioned components in various ways, depending on the system. In fact, there are five configurations often seen in the industry — ISA, microarchitecture, client-server architecture, SIMD, and multicore architecture.