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Computer Architecture: Hardware & Software

The most basic division of a computer system is between the hardware and the software.  All computer programmers, IT, and even web designers should know this.

Introduction to Computer Architecture.


Software includes all the programmed instructions in a computer. There is a main program called the system software also known as the operating system, which controls the interactions within the hardware and software components. Application software are programs like Photoshop, Browsers like Google Chrome, and game application like League of Legends. Application software is also being used in web design Dunstable.


  • Hardware is often described as the physical part of a computer where you can see and touch. The main hardware components include the CPU or Central Processing Unit, main memory, secondary storage devices and the I/O (input and output) devices.
  • The CPU is a microchip that receives and decodes instructions for memory. Within a CPU are specialized units, one is the ALU (Arithmetic Logic Unit) this part performs operations with numbers. While the CU (Control Unit), manages the flow of instructions in time of the CPU clock. The faster the CPU clock, the more instructions that can be processed at a time.
  • If your processor is a Quad-core (four transistor circuits in one chip), these four cores, allows your processor to execute four times as many instructions at a time than if it only had one core.
  • The main memory is volatile, that means whatever data is held here would be lost if the power went off. Volatile memory needs a constant flow of electricity to work, so, it’s only used for instructions in active use. Otherwise data is stored in a permanent storage device like the hard drive.

From Signals to Information

The main memory can be imagined as a sequence of cells that are either empty or contain instructions or data. Each cell has its own unique address, in the actual hardware electrical signals on and off represents all computer information. These on and off signals are called bits.

Hardware, Software, and Data

The hardware of a computer is like a kitchen, it includes all the equipment necessary for cooking food as well as an energy source and location for performing the process of cooking. The kitchen is where the ideas of a recipe are translated into edible meals. A recipe is like software, a recipe is just a series of written instructions that tells you how to turn raw ingredients into a culinary masterpiece by itself a recipe is a useless piece of writing but as soon as the recipes interpreted and executed the recipe has a value as a functional tool that can be used again and again to produce the same result. Software is reusable, the instructions of software control the flow of data.

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Categories: Computer, Hardware