Updated April 1, 2023
Introduction to Digital Computer
The following article provides an outline for Digital Computer Fundamentals. An electronic system where inputs are given in the form of digits or alphabets rather than continuous inputs and the input data appear as binary digits are called Digital Computer. The data in a digital computer is processed only in binary form of 0’s and 1’s even if the data entered is in any other forms. The values are always limited, be it input or modifying characters, i.e. digital computers can take only a limited number of characters as information, and these characters are modified internally by a limited number of characters again. Here it is 0’s and 1’s.
Various Digital Computer Fundamentals
Given below are the various Digital Computer Fundamentals:
- Digital computers perform all operations with binary digits 0 and 1. So whatever the user is giving inputs is stored in the memory and converted into binary digits for its processing, and the operations are carried out based on the instructions in the memory unit. Output received by the user will be in arithmetic or characters as entered by them. All this information is stored on the computer.
- The functional unit of a digital computer can be classified into four categories: input-output unit (I/O unit), arithmetic and logic unit (ALU), Memory unit and control unit. Users enter the input through the keyboard, and output is displayed through the monitor. ALU does the logical operation of data and displays result to the user through the monitor. The memory unit stores all the data entered by the user, and the control unit gives instructions to all units for processing the data.
- The input-output unit has the following devices keyboard, mouse, scanners, printers, microphones, barcode readers, speakers, projectors etc. An auxiliary storage device is used for immediate storage of input being entered by the user. Referred as secondary storage or external storage, documental data, multimedia or any data can be stored in auxiliary storage. This is external storage, and RAM calculations are not included in this storage. This can be removed as it is designed so. Data can be stored permanently over here and can be retrieved whenever needed.
- The arithmetic and Logic Unit is the main unit of the computer system, and this performs all logic and arithmetic operations. This component does all the calculations and processing of data. We have arithmetic and logic parts in this component. Also, bit shifting operations are done by ALU where bits are shifted one place, either left or right, depending on the user’s needs. If complex operations must be performed, ALU should be made powerful, and hence CPU also should be powerful to engage with ALU. This makes the CPU costly. A balance should be there between ALU and CPU that helps manage the operations needed by the user and maintain the system’s cost.
- The storage of the system is calculated with a Memory Unit. We have bits and bytes to measure the capacity of the storage unit in the system. These are the basic building blocks, and we have kilobytes, megabytes, gigabytes, and terabytes. A bit represents the data size, and a byte represents the size of data items or any other integers or characters. The characters are always stored in bits, which helps the ALU unit retrieve and use the information for further processing. Memory is measured in the form of bytes so that data can be defined properly while documenting the same. Nibble also represents the storage where nibble is 4 bits. Word is also a storage unit where it represents the fixed combination of bits. It is different for different systems.
- The operation of the processor is controlled by Control Unit, which is present in the CPU. Instructions are given to ALU, and the method to follow these instructions are explained to these units by Control Unit. Instructions are taken from the memory unit and fetched to ALU by the control unit if they are arithmetic. Most of the computers work by combining ALU and control unit together where memory unit is external. This is called Central Processing Unit. The CPU carries out all operations as it has storage, control and data processing. Control Unit manages all the units.
- We get a proper, precise answer to almost any equation given to the digital computer. However, only a computer can interpret only machine languages, and hence input is converted into binary digits.
- Computers used mostly in railways, offices, educational institutions etc., are digital computers and these computers are called fifth generation computers. They can perform almost any operation, and hence it is most useful than analog computers. We can use digital computers for technical and scientific research, personal use, or to manage any systems using remote controls.
- Discrete signals are used to transmit data of digital computers. These signals can be transmitted without any degradation of the signals. Also, users can make digital computers perform like analog computers with few programs and instructions. The entire process of machine language and converting it to readable language for the advantage of users make it attractive. AnalogOn the other hand, analogters are not easy to use and take time to enter the input.
- We can use a digital system for several applications by modifying the programs written in the system. This helps the user to reuse the system and hence to reduce the cost of the same. Digital systems are reliable than any other systems as the programs perform well in the system. If someone knows Boolean working and the digital programming, they can design the entire system. But analog systems cannot be designed that easily. This makes digital systems to stand apart from other systems. Data manipulation can be done easily if any mistakes in programming are done.
Data manipulation can be easily done if data is misplaced, and this is a disadvantage for users whose system is posed to threats like hackers or viruses. Digital computers consume more energy, and hence more heat is produced. A basic understanding of machine language and programming is needed for digital computer users. Apart from few disadvantages like these, digital computers are always preferred by users for easy analysis and working.
This is a guide to Digital Computer Fundamentals. Here we discuss the introduction and various digital computer fundamentals, respectively. You may also have a look at the following articles to learn more –