How to learn computer basics?

  • Thread starter just1ve
  • Start date
  • #1
7
1
Summary:
I need to learn deep information about what the computer consists of and how it works
When I ask on the Internet what the computer is and how it works, there are a lot of articles and videos and I watch them, I read them, and most of them I see other articles and other videos, so I can't learn. Can you help me out a little bit?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
13,300
7,211
Your question vague as there are many levels of understanding how a computer works.

This site has numerous articles on various computer topics:

https://computer.howstuffworks.com/pc.htm

Others here will give you similar but different advice. However, in the end you must absorb what you can for your research project.

When I first learned about computers my uncle started with core memory showing me how ones and zeros were stored. From there I learned that memory was read and written by a CPU (central processing unit).

The CPU could do various operations on the data that was read and could write out newly computed data results back to core memory. The operation steps that were used to compute the new data were in fact stored in the same memory unit in the form of opcodes aka a program.

From there I learned that memory holds numbers in binary format or in floating pt binary format or as opcodes or as character codes for textual data or ... numerous other formats deemed useful by programmers.

I could go on but hope you will instead read the How Stuff Works articles to learn more or watch the code.org videos on youtube:

 
Last edited:
  • Like
  • Informative
Likes russ_watters, david2 and berkeman
  • #3
381
281
The question is too broad, you can learn the basic components that make up a computer from the link posted by the above poster but you really need to be more specific in what you want to understand to a deep level as there are countless different things you could learn.
 
  • #4
anorlunda
Staff Emeritus
Insights Author
10,075
7,238
Ben Eater has a series of good videos on Youtube. The videos show how to build computers and digital circuits from components, and also how to program them in machine language or high level languages. That sounds like what you are asking for.


https://www.youtube.com/user/eaterbc
 
  • #5
7
1
The question is too broad, you can learn the basic components that make up a computer from the link posted by the above poster but you really need to be more specific in what you want to understand to a deep level as there are countless different things you could learn.
I dont understand
 
  • #6
7
1
Ben Eater has a series of good videos on Youtube. The videos show how to build computers and digital circuits from components, and also how to program them in machine language or high level languages. That sounds like what you are asking for.


https://www.youtube.com/user/eaterbc
can you write a more detail
 
  • #7
Tom.G
Science Advisor
4,194
2,902
Hi @just1ve,
You said you "needed deep information...", the problem we are having is just how "deep" you are after. The transistors are made of the element Silicon, which is made in Stars, but you probably don't need that!

How about how Silicon is mined, or purified, or made into transistors?
Or the theory behind the operation of transistors?

Or you could start with something called Boolean Algebra which describes that all logical operations can be done with the three basic functions of And, Or, and Not. Then progress to how tansistor circuits are wired to do those operations.

From there perhaps how mathematical operations are done with Boolean Algebra.

At the level of CPUs (Central Processing Units) you could explore their detailed operations and how they are implemented. This could take several lifetimes! As of 2013, a rather high end microprocessor CPU had just under 2 000 000 000 (2 billion) transistors. A current high end cell phone has around 18 000 000 000 (18 billion) transistors.

After you get thru the CPU study there are still things left like Memory of various kinds, and the circuitry to connect the Memory to the CPU.

Around this point the question will probably pop up of "How can I do something USEFUL with all of that?"

That is where actual Programming comes in. A Program is a bunch of Instructions to the CPU that tells it where in Memory to get a piece of Data and "what to do with it."

The "what to do with it" may be to And it with another piece of Data, or in modern CPUs it may be as complex as "Find the square root," or assume the Data is an angle and "Find the Tangent." (You see, the CPU actually has its own Program built into it do these operations, using just the And, Or, Not operations of Boolean Algebra, mentioned above.)

The next level up in complexity is a program written to recognize human-readable text and convert it instructions for the CPU. This is called Assembly Language. It looks something like this:
Code:
Mov Cost,A ;Cost is a memory location holding the cost of the item you buy
Sub Tendered,A ;Subtract Cost from the amount you payed
Sto A,Change ;Save the amount of change due in memory 'Change'

The next level up is an Application Language or Higher Level Language. It is much easier for humans to read, and write! The simpler ones look something like this:
Code:
If  Cost .GT. Tendered then  Print "You are short $", Cost - Tendered
If Tendered .GT. Cost then Print "Your change is $". Tendered - Cost
If Cost .EQ. Tendered then Print "Thank YOU!"
The '.GT.' stands for 'Greater Than'
".EQ." stands for "Equals"

Well, I'm getting tired of typing! If you can give us a better clue of where your "deep information" should start, we have a much better chance of pointing you to the answers you are after.

Cheers,
Tom
 
  • #8
381
281
I dont understand

It's a big subject, no one understands it all, which bit do you want to know about?

Lets pretend instead of a computer you are asking how a car works. Do you want to know how the engine works? What it's made of? How we make the seats? How we make the doors? Where did the materials to make the car come from?

You have already been given some links to follow. You need to be more specific about which information you are asking about.
 
  • #9
7
1
Hi @just1ve,
You said you "needed deep information...", the problem we are having is just how "deep" you are after. The transistors are made of the element Silicon, which is made in Stars, but you probably don't need that!

How about how Silicon is mined, or purified, or made into transistors?
Or the theory behind the operation of transistors?

Or you could start with something called Boolean Algebra which describes that all logical operations can be done with the three basic functions of And, Or, and Not. Then progress to how tansistor circuits are wired to do those operations.

From there perhaps how mathematical operations are done with Boolean Algebra.

At the level of CPUs (Central Processing Units) you could explore their detailed operations and how they are implemented. This could take several lifetimes! As of 2013, a rather high end microprocessor CPU had just under 2 000 000 000 (2 billion) transistors. A current high end cell phone has around 18 000 000 000 (18 billion) transistors.

After you get thru the CPU study there are still things left like Memory of various kinds, and the circuitry to connect the Memory to the CPU.

Around this point the question will probably pop up of "How can I do something USEFUL with all of that?"

That is where actual Programming comes in. A Program is a bunch of Instructions to the CPU that tells it where in Memory to get a piece of Data and "what to do with it."

The "what to do with it" may be to And it with another piece of Data, or in modern CPUs it may be as complex as "Find the square root," or assume the Data is an angle and "Find the Tangent." (You see, the CPU actually has its own Program built into it do these operations, using just the And, Or, Not operations of Boolean Algebra, mentioned above.)

The next level up in complexity is a program written to recognize human-readable text and convert it instructions for the CPU. This is called Assembly Language. It looks something like this:
Code:
Mov Cost,A ;Cost is a memory location holding the cost of the item you buy
Sub Tendered,A ;Subtract Cost from the amount you payed
Sto A,Change ;Save the amount of change due in memory 'Change'

The next level up is an Application Language or Higher Level Language. It is much easier for humans to read, and write! The simpler ones look something like this:
Code:
If  Cost .GT. Tendered then  Print "You are short $", Cost - Tendered
If Tendered .GT. Cost then Print "Your change is $". Tendered - Cost
If Cost .EQ. Tendered then Print "Thank YOU!"
The '.GT.' stands for 'Greater Than'
".EQ." stands for "Equals"

Well, I'm getting tired of typing! If you can give us a better clue of where your "deep information" should start, we have a much better chance of pointing you to the answers you are after.

Cheers,
Tom
I dont understand
 
  • #10
35,638
7,510
I dont understand
That's not a useful comment. @Tom.G put a fair amount of effort into what he wrote, and this is deserving of more than "I dont <sic> understand".

What part don't you understand? A more focused question from you would help us deal with the question more effectively.
 
  • Like
Likes Tom.G and berkeman
  • #11
symbolipoint
Homework Helper
Education Advisor
Gold Member
6,533
1,366
The forum should have some intelligent members who should be able to give something understandable to "I need to learn deep information about what the computer consists of and how it works.", as if a ten-year-old average child were asking.
 
  • #12
berkeman
Mentor
61,313
11,838
Thread closed temporarily for Moderation...

After some (more) cleanup, thread is reopened, and OP is on a short leash.
 
  • #13
35,638
7,510
The forum should have some intelligent members who should be able to give something understandable to "I need to learn deep information about what the computer consists of and how it works.", as if a ten-year-old average child were asking.
Maybe it's possible to give a "ten-year-old average child" some very basic information about what a computer consists of and how it works, but if said child responds to each attempted explanation with "what" or "I don't understand," then maybe said child isn't ready for a "deep understanding."
 
Last edited:
  • #14
berkeman
Mentor
61,313
11,838
and OP is on a short leash.
Update -- OP is on a 10-day vacation from PF.
 
  • #15
symbolipoint
Homework Helper
Education Advisor
Gold Member
6,533
1,366
What part don't you understand? A more focused question from you would help us deal with the question more effectively.
Since O.P. is forced to be away from P.F. for a while, we can't ask him (1) What Mathematics he currently knows, and (2) exactly what computer experience has has up to now, and (3) what kind of logic does he understand.
 
  • #16
35,638
7,510
Since O.P. is forced to be away from P.F. for a while, we can't ask him (1) What Mathematics he currently knows, and (2) exactly what computer experience has has up to now, and (3) what kind of logic does he understand.
If you have followed any of his other threads, these kinds of questions have already been asked.
 
  • #17
berkeman
Mentor
61,313
11,838
And we keep getting the same answer... :wink:
 

Related Threads on How to learn computer basics?

  • Last Post
Replies
2
Views
3K
  • Last Post
3
Replies
55
Views
12K
  • Last Post
Replies
2
Views
6K
  • Last Post
Replies
3
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
1
Views
2K
Replies
1
Views
7K
  • Last Post
Replies
2
Views
3K
Replies
5
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
13
Views
5K
Replies
3
Views
8K
Top