What's in a computer?


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What's in a computer?

Most of today's computers are serial. Their memory contains a large array of instructions, and they obey these one at a time. This is true of PC's, Macs, the University's main computers (a Vax and a Dec 5500), etc. One can also build parallel computers, which have more than one processor and so can obey more than one instruction at a time. These are less common, although big parallel computers are widely available as research facilities: Connection Machines, Crays, etc.

The design of parallel computers varies widely between machines, and I won't say more about them. Serial computers are less varied. Here's an account of the main components of a typical serial computer.


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Jocelyn Ireson-Paine
Wed Feb 14 23:46:11 GMT 1996