Demystifying Computers

How They Really Work

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Scott Badman, Instructor

Topics to be covered and why they are fundmentally understandable.

    Hardware - Looking inside helps to understand how it works.

    Binary Arithmetic - It works exactly like decimal arithmetic (our normal numbers).

    Simple Logic - It's just "and", "or", "not".

    The Central Processing Unit (CPU) - It's just a simple calculator that presses its own buttons.

    Programming - It only has four operations: arithmetic, if...then, loops, and input/output.

    Algorithms - Cooking recipies are algorithms.

    Disk and Data Location - If you know the alphabet you know Windows,

                                          and you don't even need the alphabet for the Mac

    The Operating System (Windows) - O.K., the Operating System is what probably confuses you the most,
                                                          but we will set aside a lot of time for your specific questions.

    Logical Equivalence of Hardware and Software - The results are the same, so you really don't care.

    Peripherals - If the plug fits, and the software is properly installed, they will probably work.

    The Internet - You probably already know how to use it.