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The Little Man Computer

This is the ‘little man computer’, or LMC. It’s an instructional model of a computer, created in around 1965. It models a simple Von Neumann architecture, with all the basic …

Fetch, decode, execute

Now let’s look at how the CPU can perform calculations, using a process known as the Fetch Decode Execute cycle. Here we have a representation of a CPU and RAM. …

Storing bits and bytes

Before we go any further into looking at how a computer processor works, we need to look at how a computer can store data. Above is a diagram of a …

Bits, Bytes and Nibbles

Before we proceed any further, let us have a quick look at the naming system that is commonly used when talking about binary numbers and data. You already know that …

All the other gates

In this step we’re going to recap some of the logic gates we have already met, and look at all the other gates. You should be familiar by now with …

Creating NAND gates

In this step, we’re going to have a look at how transistors can be combined together to form what are called logic gates, and in particular we’ll look at the …

Smaller and smaller switches

In a previous step you learned that we can perform calculations using 1s and 0s, and that the state of a switch can be used to represent a 1 or …

Why binary?

Now let’s have a look at why computers use binary anyway. Let’s start by thinking about the most simple use case: computers need to store data. Now if a computer …

Working with binary

In this step we’re going to look at working with binary. As you saw in a previous step, a Turing machine is capable of operating using only two symbols – …

The importance of history

When I used to teach secondary school science, I would pepper my lessons with various stories and anecdotes that were relevant to the lesson. For instance, when I was teaching …

Turing machines

While Babbage and Lovelace can be considered the parents of computers and programming, Alan Turing is often called the father of Computer Science. During the war effort, Turing worked on …

Babbage and Lovelace

In this step, we’re going to look at two of the earliest pioneers of Computer Science: Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace. You’ll learn about their pioneering work in trying to …

Defining a computer

In this step we’re going to look at what we mean by the term Computer, and try to come up with a definition for what a computer actually is. It …