Computer Architecture for the Simple Mind

  1. Dec 4, 2013 #1


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    Forgive me if this is not the right area of the forum, but it seems like it might reach the broadest audience here.

    I am looking for an introduction to computer hardware (and perhaps more generally, modern electronics) for a scientist. I am looking for something beyond what one might find in a popular treatment, as I have read several and have always been left feeling unsatisfied. I am also not sure that a technical text for engineers is right either. I certainly don't have the time to devote to learning this full time, as this is only a recreational interest.

    My background is in theoretical condensed matter physics, particularly strongly correlated electronic systems, topological insulators, and spin-orbit coupling in ultra cold atoms. I have very little lab experience (I picked up a summer as an undergraduate in an experimental group) and I have no formal training in electronics or instrumentation. I do have formal training in scientific programming, but this yields little to no insight into the inner workings of a machine. I am looking for a text that will satisfy my curiosity for delving deeper into the workings of modern electronics and computers, but likely don't have the time, inclination, or training to follow a rigorous text for practicing experts. If not a book, I suppose I could settle for lecture notes, websites, or other accounts if anyone is aware of some at the level I am looking for.

    TL;DR: I am looking for a source on electronics and/or computer architecture for a simple minded theorist at the "goldilocks" level between popular science and formal text.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 4, 2013 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

  4. Dec 4, 2013 #3
    I'm not sure where the "goldilocks" level is :smile:, but I mention these sites/pdfs so you know they exist:

    All About Circuits

    Lessons In Electric Circuits
    A free series of textbooks on the subjects of electricity and electronics
    (Tony R. Kuphaldt)
    (online and pdf:s available)

    Computer Organization and Design Fundamentals
    by David Tarnoff
    (downloadable pdf:s)

    I haven't used them myself though, since I've already got textbooks on electronics and computer technology (in Swedish).
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