Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

How does a computer program actually work?

  1. Jan 21, 2013 #1
    I really want to know the physical path an electrical signal takes on its journey. For example, when i press the J key on my keyboard, an electrical impulse is sent where? to the hard drive where the keyboard program is stored? Could someone just give me all the stops that electrical signal will take in order to be eventually displayed as a J by the pixels on my screen? Thanks a bunch
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 21, 2013 #2
    There is no single electrical signal that conveys the J key on the keyboard to the J shown on the display. In fact there are thousands of electrical signals involved. The dirty details of the sequence of all of these signals needed to perform this seemly simple act is what computer/electrical engineers learn getting their degree.

    Many of these signals are inside of integrated circuits (processor memory etc.).
    Many are on the motherboard (address/data lines), USB lines, interrupts.
    Many are within the keyboard itself (inside microcontroller and on keyboard motherboard).

    And it depends on stuff like:
    What kind of keyboard (traditional, USB, wireless).
    What kind of computer (Apple, PC, Sun workstation, Ipad)
    Which operating system (Linux, Microsoft).
     
  4. Jan 21, 2013 #3

    dlgoff

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

  5. Jan 21, 2013 #4

    berkeman

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Here is some reading that you should check out at HowStuffWorks.com:

    http://www.howstuffworks.com/pc.htm

    .
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook




Similar Discussions: How does a computer program actually work?
  1. How does Twinax work? (Replies: 1)

  2. How does ammeter work? (Replies: 29)

Loading...