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Unit Overview: Computer Systems

Lessons:

12 lessons

Computer systems and system software

In this lesson, we will discover two types of computer systems: general purpose and embedded. Following this, we will explore the need for system software to facilitate communication between software and hardware in computer systems. We will explain the role of an operating system in controlling a computer while it is running.

  • 1 Quiz
  • 21m Video
  • Presentation(PPT)
  • Worksheet
  • Transcript

Introduction to the CPU

In this lesson, we will be introduced to the CPU and von Neumann architecture. We will learn about the individual components of the CPU and their roles in computation, along the way finding out about von Neumann and his theories that form the basis of modern computer architecture.

  • 2 Quizzes
  • 20m Video
  • Presentation(PPT)
  • Worksheet
  • Transcript

The FDE cycle

In this lesson, we will extend our knowledge of the components that make up the CPU by introducing the fetch-decode-execute cycle (FDE). We will observe a program running and will connect the parts of the CPU to their role in executing instructions.

  • 2 Quizzes
  • 18m Video
  • Presentation(PPT)
  • Worksheet
  • Transcript

Secondary storage

In this lesson, we will be introduced to secondary storage and take an in-depth look at solid-state storage. We will discover the need for secondary storage, through assessing the devices we have learnt about already. By the end of the lesson, we will be able to explain how solid-state storage works, and describe the advantages and disadvantages of such devices.

  • 2 Quizzes
  • 13m Video
  • Presentation(PPT)
  • Worksheet
  • Transcript

Optical and magnetic storage

In this lesson, we will build on what we learnt in the previous 'Secondary Storage' lesson; this lesson involves exploring optical and magnetic storage devices. We will learn how each type of storage operates, and explain how data is written and read from each device. We will then actively rank the storage device in a number of key areas of comparison.

  • 2 Quizzes
  • 19m Video
  • Presentation(PPT)
  • Worksheet
  • Transcript

Selecting a storage device

In this lesson, we will systematically compare and select storage devices for a given situation. The second half of the lesson explores the limits of physical storage and how cloud storage can fill the gaps. We will examine cloud storage and explore questions about the impacts of cloud storage.

  • 2 Quizzes
  • 21m Video
  • Presentation(PPT)
  • Worksheet
  • Transcript

Computer specifications

In this lesson, we will learn how to evaluate a computer based on its specifications. We will discover the factors that limit a CPU's performance: clock speed, cache, and the number of cores. The end of this lesson will involve us choosing the right computer for a given task.

  • 2 Quizzes
  • 16m Video
  • Presentation(PPT)
  • Worksheet
  • Transcript

Logic gates

In this lesson, we will discover logic gates: the building blocks of processors at the heart of a computer system. Through the activities we will build an understanding of how logic gates are used to address real-world problems.

  • 2 Quizzes
  • 22m Video
  • Presentation(PPT)
  • Worksheet
  • Transcript