Mini-Course: How Computers Compute?


Mini-Course: How Computers Compute? A first course you need to understand how computers work.

Course Description

Understanding how computers compute is the first step towards understanding how computers work. There are three building blocks in understanding how computers compute.

1. How computers represent numbers: Binary numbers

2. Who does the computing: Transistor

3. How to combine transistors to do computing: Building an adder

The first hurdle in learning how computers work is binary number. A lot of people have trouble in seeing binary numbers as legit numbers, myself included. So this course aims to provide you a thorough understanding about numbers from a unique perspective. After comfortable with binary numbers, we will talk about the little device at the core of modern electronics: transistor. We won’t get into the quantum mechanics detail behind the transistors fundamental to our modern way of life, but we will briefly talk about what it does. This will pave way for a good understanding about how to use them to do computing. Once we are comfortable with how numbers are represented and what the little computing device can do, we will dive into the details about how to combine those little transistors in making an adder that can add two numbers. We will also talk about how computers do subtraction using a trick called two’s complement method.

This mini course will equip you with a thorough understanding about how computers do computing exactly.

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