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Book Recommendation? - How computers / processors work

  1. Jun 12, 2011 #1
    Book Recommendation? -- How computers / processors work

    I'm familiar with basic, high-level programming (e.g. C) and the principles behind compilation, operating systems, etc. I'm also familiar with the basics simple electronics, e.g. circuits, transistors, simple logic gates, etc.

    The space between these levels is a complete mystery; a magical black-box.

    Does anyone have a book recommendation to fill in this (massive) gap?

    I'd like to understand how simple circuits are built into processors, processors into computers, and perhaps how the high-level software code is translated into lower-level hardware-minded code.

    I'm a physics graduate student, so I think I can handle a good amount of technical language and detail -- but perhaps not a full EE or CE level of it.

    Thanks for your recommendations!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 13, 2011 #2


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    Re: Book Recommendation? -- How computers / processors work

    I'd recommend a good intro to microcontrollers or intro to assembly programming textbook. The abstraction starts disappearing when you have to figure out what register / memory location you have to shove bits into in order to perform various tasks--and when you end up banging your head against the wall trying to debug an innocuous-tiny looking program.

    Unfortunately, I have to leave these generic, since I don't have any specific ones (when I was learning, I used Harman's The Motorola MC68332 Microcontroller: Product Design, Assembly Language Programming and Interfacing. It's nearly 20 years old, but the 332 (and it's descendants) live on today, powering a great number of embedded electronic devices.
  4. Jun 13, 2011 #3
  5. Jun 16, 2011 #4
    Re: Book Recommendation? -- How computers / processors work

    Studying basic microcontrollers like PIC etc will give you initial insight to the topic. Afterwards pick any computer architecture book for more information
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