Introduction to Information Technology
Introduction to Information Technology (IT)

1.1.1 Usage and Importance of IT
There is a general belief that Information

Technology (IT) is about computers. However, this is not true. Information Technology (IT) is about computers, communication networks, and people sharing information and knowledge (IT) has utilizing such computers and communication networks. Information Technology enabled people in different parts of the world to exchange information freely and with ease. In effect, IT makes us realize how small the world, we live in, is as it removes physical constraints such as distance between people in exchanging information. With rapid developments in IT, global communication took a giant leap. Today, Information Technology (IT) is practically utilized in diverse fields such as education, science, engineering and technology, manufacturing, banking, airline industry, health and medicine, provision of public and other services, commerce, administration and management etc. We all have become users of many of these IT applications in our day-to -day lives, no matter how sophisticated or moderate our lifestyles are. Further, more and more IT applications are introduced to human activities and with this scenario it is surmised that, in future, knowledge in IT will be an essential requirement for a person to secure any form of employment or even participate as a member of the modern day society. Information Technology (IT) has opened up a whole new range of employment opportunities as programmers, systems analysts, systems designers, software engineers, software architects, systems engineers, database administrators, network engineers, network administrators, computer hardware professionals, Website developers, multimedia professionals, IT consultants and the like. In addition, IT has created vast job opportunities in other fields such as management, accountancy, commerce, banking, publishing and media, engineering, architecture, health and medicine.


There are also emerging areas of specialization such as electronic commerce, Web services, network and data security, intelligent systems, e-government services all spurred by IT. With the availability of a wide variety of employment opportunities in the field of IT and a whole host of opportunities in the field of IT applications in other disciplines, those who are knowledgeable and proficient in IT will naturally find satisfying jobs with high remuneration both here and abroad. This is good enough reason for any student to embark on studies in IT.

1.1.2 Some Common IT Applications
Information Technology (IT) has found its way into more and more aspects of our society. Be it a supermarket, a hospital, a teaching institution, a bank or even the household, there are sys tems or products that depend on IT or utilize IT. Let us take the example of a modern hospital. When you visit such a hospital, you will be able to see several applications of IT. If you want to get an appointment with a specialist doctor, the receptionist at the appointment desk will invariably input some data via the keyboard of a computer to the hospital’s information system and within seconds, she will be able to inform you of the availability of that particular doctor on a given date, at a given time, at a specified location. She is using the management information system of the hospital to give you fast and accurate information. If you get a chance to visit an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of a hospital, you will find much more significant IT applications such as monitoring of blood circulating system, cardiographs monitoring heart beat, encephalographs monitoring brain functions. These systems handle critical information about the patient’s condition which helps the doctor to give the patient timely and better treatment. Next consider a school. Even at a school, student information such as name of the student, registration number, student’s address, student’s examination marks and performance, and information about the student’s extra -curricular activities can be kept in a student information system. Students, teachers, principal and parents will be able to access this information. Such information systems help in the better management of the school.


Have you done shopping in a supermarket or joined your mother for shopping? Do you remember any IT applications being used there? The checkout clerk will be using a Point of Sale System to generate your bill. He doesn’t have to know the price of each and every item in the supermarket. Instead he simply sc ans the little bar-code label attached to each item in your shopping cart using a small device, ie. a hand -held bar-code scanner. He is using the information system of the supermarket to get the prices of goods you are buying. The system also calculates the total amount very quickly and communicates with the inventory control system where the stock information is kept, to update the inventory.

Take the case of a bank. If your father wants to withdraw some money from a bank on a day when the bank is clos ed, he may withdraw money from the Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) at the bank or from an ATM elsewhere. People do not need to go and wait inside a bank to withdraw money but they can do it from an ATM. An Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) is one of the most popular examples where IT is applied practically in banks. Most banks in Sri Lanka have now broaden their networks covering a wide area facilitating people with easy access points to interact with banks through ATMs to handle their money.

Let us consid er a household. How many IT applications have you noticed at your home? Things like TV, telephone, refrigerator, washing machine, microwave oven and video recorder are among some of the equipment found in a house hold these days. Do you know that many of such devices are controlled by microprocessors containing electronic circuitry usually referred to as an electronic chips? That is where Information Technology is used in these household equipment. As a student, what can you do with a computer? Can a student use computers for education purposes? Imagine a situation where you could not understand a lesson that a teacher taught in the class. When you get back home you are helpless. If you have access to the computer, may be at home or at school, and if the le sson notes are available to you in a computer, you will be able to review your lessons by yourself.


Now you will understand that the world is getting used to more and more IT applications on a global scale. This is why we say that the world is globalis ed. This is not only because IT on its own proved a great success but also because IT grew to be an essential tool that facilitates and enhances activities in most other fields.

1.1.3 Why Study IT?
Every one has an ambition to become a successful person in society. You may be planning to become an accountant, a doctor, an engineer, a lecturer, an IT professional or a businessman. level will be No a matter what your plans are, studying IT upto an appropriate decisive advantage and will certainly help you to prosper in your career.

Let us take a case where a student chooses the medical profession. Being a doctor is to belong to a noble profession. It is a job that requires a great deal of knowledge about the human system. But at the same time, being competent in Information Technology will provide an additional competence to a doctor in the practice of his profession. For example, as a doctor, one might face a situation where one has to use a sophisticated medical equipment to obtain an electrocardiograph of a patient or you may use a modern Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanner to scan the human body. If the doctor has some knowledge in Information Technology it will help him to handle these equipment confidently and effectively.

On the other hand one might prefer to become an academic, such as a lecturer or a researcher. Today academics get invaluable help from IT in the practice of their profession, be it for capturing, processing or analysis of information, presentation, transmission of information to distant audiences or conduct of IT based examinations and evaluation. Academics depend heavily on Internet, specialized application software a n d they develop their own software in the conduct of research and dissemination of knowledge. Thus it i seen that an academic cannot be divorced s from IT.


one has to be highly proficient in IT and Communication Technologies. etc which are highly remunerative. peripherals. data communication. banking. information on data. For that matter. software project managers. and proficiency beginning at 5 . management.If one is planning to be an IT professional. telecommunications and IT go hand -in-hand and one discipline depends on the other for advancement. Internet and the World Wide Web. Today. To secure employment in this sector. software developers. In developed countries. software test engineers. history of computers. Software industry has become extremely popular in modern times and it has generated a large number of jobs in various categories both in the developed and the developing world. If a student wants to purs ue a career as a telecommunication engineer. Studying IT is both challenging and interesting. software. storage devices. computer networks. insurance etc. systems analysts. one needs to be highly knowledgeable and proficient in IT. The above examples clearly demonstrate the importance of IT in most areas of employment and students must prepare themselves for the challenges of these professions by acquiring the necessary IT knowledge school level. microprocessor development. rely heavily on IT especially when dealing with large client-base. well beyond the IT knowledge required by other professionals. naturally one has to acquire a high proficiency in IT. accountancy. To enter such fields of employment. data processing. information. Further. One popular area of IT industry is software. telecom industry has shown tremendous progress and employment prospects in this industry have become pretty attractive. landlines. it will not be possible for him to proceed without a strong component of IT in his studies. over the last few years. computer organization and architecture. There are a variety of careers in software industry such as software engineers. wireless and mobile phones are used extensively and even in Sri Lanka. The rest of this chapter provides the student. all engineering and science based professions require studies in IT as engineering or scientific analysis and design cannot be performed without resorting to IT.

and no judgment can be made using raw marks. That shows that the first answer did not contain enough information to make a judgment. will they have any meaning? Probably not.1. This task is done by the Department of Examinations. Not only your parents. Data Figure 1. teachers and relatives are very curious to know your results. Summarize some information about Computer Assisted Learning (CAL) in schools. When someone asks for your results . Your answer may not be enough to check whether you can enter a university. They might ask about your Z-score and the district rank etc. Develop a list of occupations that can benefit from using Information Technology. 6 .4 Data and Information Let us assume that you have completed your Advanced Level examination and have now got to know your results. you may say that “ it is 2 As and a B”. Keep this list and refer back to it at the end of the course. 1. It collects marks for subjects that a student has scored at the examination and tra nsform them into different forms which become information for another person.CLASS ACTIVITIES 1. for recent articles that discuss the use of Information technology in society and collect some articles on different IT applications available presently and categorize them.1 Processing /Conversion Information Processing and conversion of data in to information. If your answer to the first question is only the marks that you obtained for the subjects if those are available. Then revise the list in the light of what you have learned. 2. data should be processed or transformed into a different form to become information as in depicted Figure 1. coming up with examples of how to apply Information Technology. Search through several news papers. These raw marks that are most probably not adequate to make a judgment are called Data. even friends. Therefore.1.1 1. Now we can formally define Data and Information. These raw marks should be converted into more usable and meaningful form. This transformation or interpretation can be done throug h computers.

word. Who can do this transformation or processing? Can a human do this or do we need a machine? Look at our previous example of processing of AL examination results.000 AL students a year. prices.5 Computers for Data Processing Now we understand the importance of transforming data into useful information. If the instructions are accurate ly given to the computer. Machines have to do things the hard way. This information can help you reach a decision. evaluation report of a student etc. accurate results can be obtained. instructions should be given in steps as: Input Input Number 1 Number 2 addition = Number 1 + Number 2 Output addition Then these steps can be repeated hundreds or thousands or millions of times without making errors. 7 . Unlike humans.Data: Data is a representation of a fact. or sound such as time. Information: Information is processed data that is meaningful or useful to someone such as Zscore of Advanced level examination results. But the computer cannot take decisions to process data by itself as a human does when analyzing and processing data. one step at a time. Computer follows specific instructions step by step and needs accurate instructions and data to work with. The computer helps us by processing the data given and providing results or reports that contain specific information for us to analyze or understand.1. name. the computers do one thing at a time. The Department of Examinations may process the results of about 200. But humans may make mistakes when they repeat the process several times. date. All complex procedures must be broken down into very simple steps. Input to a data processing system will be raw data and the output will be the required information or processed data. Salary slip of an employee. image. A human should accurately give instructions or steps that are needed for a computer to work. number. If you use a computer to add two numbers. numbers of items sold etc. This process is called Data Processing. The processing of AL examination results can be extremely time consuming or even impossible without the aid of a computer. 1.

It should be correct and reliable.2. 2. The main qualities that information should have are given below: Timeliness: Completeness: Accuracy: Understandability: It should be available at the correct time. identify the following components: Inputs to the system Processes of the system Outputs of the system 3. In other words those are the tangible things that make up a computer. 2. Identify some other places where computers are used for data processing. It s hould be clear in meaning. 1.2 1. It should be sufficient for the purpose. Display Unit System Unit Keyboard Mouse 1 2 4. CLASS ACTIVITIES 1. What does it look like? Have you noticed it has more than one part? All these devices are called hardware of the computer.6 Characteristics of Information What we understood was that the information is processed data which can be used to make a decision.1. If the information of students are going to be kept in a Student Information System (SIS). practical and simple. 3 4 8 .1 Computer Hardware Recall a picture of a computer you have seen.1. 3. Prepare a list of them and describe few data processing activities. Write some notes to explain how computers can be used for data processing. Now we will try to discover the qualities that make information so handy. Observe student registration activities of a school.2 Introduction to Computers 1. 1.

Hardware – basic electronic and electro -mechanical parts in a computer Software – instruction to hardware Data and Info rmation – data as input and information as processed data Procedures or instructions – guidelines to use software and hardware People –Those Operating the computer system 6. A computer system is a combination of six elements: 1. Keyboard and Mouse. which means simply the physical equipment. smart cards and optical cards. Home key. digital cameras etc. 3. The most significant ones are Display. sensors. etc. a computer will typically consist of a set of devices. (4) output devices. 4. Computer Keyboard 9 . Communication – connection between computers to share data and information Now we will look at the main components of computer hardware. Ctrl key.As the above picture shows. The keyboard may look like a typewriter keyboard to which some special keys have been added such as Insert key. numbers and other characters into electrical signals that are computer readable.1 Input devices Input devices are used to input data that is to be processed and programs that includes processing instructions to the computer. 1.2. 2. (2) processors. scanning devices. System Unit. ‘System Unit’ is the place where the ‘brain’ of the computer exists. Alt key. Generally computer hardware can be divided into five categories: (1) input devices. a keyboard converts letters. Enter key. Common input devices are the keyboard and the mouse. A computer will not be useful without making a computer system. 5. Keyboard: In a computer. There are other input devices such as pointing devices. By itself computer has no intelligence and is referred to as hardware. and (5) communications. (3) storage devices.1.

Trackballs Trackball is a movable ball. especially those in which one is mimicking flying a plane or spaceship. joysticks. A ball underneath rolls as the mouse moves across the mouse pad.e. They use a laser to sense the motion of the mouse instead. On the other hand it requires fine control of the ball with just one finger or thumb. 10 . Mouse Right Button Mouse is a pointing device. Buttons on the mouse can be clicked or double -clicked to perform tasks. Mouse. trackballs. like to select an icon on the screen or to open the selected document. There are new mouse models Left Button that do not have a ball. Joysticks are commonly used in video games to c o ntrol the cursor motion. The cursor on the screen follows the movement of the mouse. Advantages of trackball are that. it does not need as much desk space as a mouse. A joystick gives a more natural feeling of control for motion in games. Joysticks A joystick is a pointing device that consists of a vertical handle like a gearshift lever mounted on a base with one or two buttons. and it is not as tiring since less motion is needed. on top of a stationary device. that is rotated with the fingers or palm of the hand. the act of pointing.Pointing devices: Pointing devices use one of the most natural gestures of humans i. touch screens are some of the most frequently used pointing devices.

Scanners Scanners computer generally and then convert text. or a pen like device connected to the computer. Touch screens are often used in Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) in banks. Light Pen The light pen is a light-sensitive stylus. z e b r a -striped marks Fingerprint scanner Barcode reader 11 . Sometimes scanners are called image scanners or graphics scanners. When pen touches the screen. Image scanner There are special purpose scanners such as fingerprint scanners which are used to scan finger prints and bar code readers which read t h e which you see on some products.Touch screens Touch screen is a video display screen that receives input from the touch of a finger or stylus. drawings and these photographs into digital form that c a n b e s t o r e d i n a manipulated. it sends the information available at the location to the computer. The user can bring the pen to the desired point on the screen.

Details of primary memory and primary memory types can be found in the section 1.1. data and programs temporarily. Secondary storage has the following characteristics: 12 . The devices used to store data in a relatively permanent form are called Secondary storage. The processor in a personal comp uter (PC) is generally considered as the PC's "brain". But the computer will generally store these information. information stored will disappear. Before you switch off your computer data and instructions should be permanently stored for later or future use. You can store and retrieve data much faster with primary memory compared to secondary memory. Secondary storage can have large memory capacity of gigabytes or more. should be stored inside the computer during the processing. it processes instructions. These data and programs. 1. This job will be done by means of electronic circuitry inside a computer known as the “processor”. The processor does exactly what the name implies it does. This storage is refered to as the Primary storage where both data and programs are temporarily stored. whereas only small portions of that data are placed in primary storage at any one time.2.1.2 Processors You might now wonder how can a computer process data into information. data will be fed to the computer with a set of necessary instructions which is called a computer program.3 Storage or memory devices The computer operates based on a set of instructions given by the user. It processes instructions and also manipulates data. If it is a data processing a pplication. when they are fed. Secondary Storage Secondary storage or memory is designed to store very large amounts of data for extended periods of time. Thus.2. When the computer is switched off.4. there are two types of storage devices namely: • • Primary storage devices and Secondary storage devices Primary storage or memory devices Primary memory is directly accessible by the processing unit of the computer.2. This will be explained in detail later.1.

by direct access . These disks are permanently The data The mounted as a unit that may be internal or external to the computer. Magnetic t ape is kept on a large open reel or in a small cartridge or cassette. before it comes to the desired piece of data. The downside is that it is the slowest for retrieval of data. Although this is an old technology. Magnetic tapes Magnetic tape is thin plastic tape on which data can be represented with magnetized spots. Any piece of desired data can be retrieved in a non-sequential manner.e. The magnetic tape used for computers. Sequential access means that the system might have to run through a major part of the tape. A read -write head uses the data address to quickly locate and read the data.§ § It is nonvolatile (i. It takes much more time to retrieve data from secondary storage than it does from main memory. The magnetic disk is like a phonograph record in that it has tracks. because all the data are placed on the tape sequentially. Secondary storage devices appear on a variety of media. is made from the same material used for audiotape and videotape. Unlike magnetic tape the system does not have to read through all the data to find what it wants. each with its own technology. Every piece of data has an address attached to it corresponding to a particular track and sector. read/write heads are attached to arms that hover over the disks moving in and out. transferring to and from the computer is handled by the read/write heads. Hard drives Hard drives use stacks of rigid magnetic disks. as discussed below. and like a pizza in that it is divided into wedges that are called sectors. it remains popular because it is the cheapest storage medium and can handle enormous amount of data. data is not lost when electrical power is switched off). Magnetic disks Magnetic disks come in a varie ty of styles and are extremely popular because they allow much more rapid access to data as compared with magnetic tape. They read the data when positioned over the correct track and when the correct Hard Disks 13 .

Because the head floats just above the surface of the disk (at 25 millionths of a meter). Optical Disks An Optical Disk is a re movable disk on which data is written and read through the use of a laser beam. A floppy drive copies or reads data from disk and writes or records data to the disk. They have much less capacity. Magnetic diskettes or Floppy Disks Magnetic diskettes are commonly called floppy disks and function similarly to hard drives. They are: Compact Disk Read -Only Memory (CD-ROM) Write Once Read Many Disk (WORM) Rewritab le Compact Disk CD ROMs 14 . This is enclosed in a rectangular plastic case. hard disk drives are extremely popular and common. hard drives are hermetically sealed when manufactured. measured in milliseconds. but with some key differences. flat piece of plastic that stores data and programs as magnetized spots. They are much slower than Floppy disks hard drives. ranging from 1. However. The basic sizes of the diskettes are 3½ inch which is now more popular and 5¼ inch. A floppy disk is a removable round.44 megabytes for a standard high density disk to 200 megabytes for a disk formatted for a zip drive (on which the data are compressed). Few types of optical • • • technologies are used in computers. Further. A modern personal computer may have several gigabytes of storage capacity in its internal hard drive. For that reason.sector spins by. Data access is very fast. For these reasons. Diskettes are often called “floppy” because the disk with the case is flexible. although they are individually inexpensive floppy disks are less c o s t-efficient than hard drive storage. the big advantage of floppy disks is that they are portable. any bit of dust or contamination can disrupt the device.

While a DVD disc is the same size as a CD -ROM. This is called a hard copy. and high durability. However. Rewritable Compact Disk Rewritab le Compact Disks allow user to rewrite onto the CD. 1. because it is a read -only medium.Read Only Memory (CD-ROM) Compact Disk Read -Only Memory (CD-ROM) storage devices feature high capacity. Digital Video Disc or Digital Versatile Disc (DVD) DVD was originally called Digital Video Disc but is now known as Digital Versatile Disc. While most attention has been placed on DVD-video. low cost. and both store data in the same way.Compact Disk. a single layer of a DVD can hold about seven times as much data as a CD-ROM and there can be two layers per side and the disc can be double sided. This is called a softcopy such as on a floppy disk. Also it can be displayed on a screen or output by other non-permanent means. Write Once Read Many Disk (WORM) Write Once Read Many Disk can be written or recorded onto once and then cannot be erased. But it can be read many times. Output can be printed on paper or other permanent media. the CD-ROM can only be read and not written on.4 Output Devices These devices allow the computer to output information for the benefit of the users. 15 . About 5 minutes of digital video requires about 1 gigabyte of storage and so roughly only about 3 minutes worth will fit on a C D -ROM.2.1. the most important aspect of it for sometime to come is said to be computer-based DVD drives as programs start to outstrip the capacity of CDROMs.

In color screens various colors can be displayed. Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) screens are used in laptops. quality or resolution. i.e. Selection of a printer is based on many parameters such as cost. There are different types of printers. or green characters on black. screen. but are quite expensive. size. There are a variety of them. Another way of grouping them is based on their internal structure. There are two types: • • Monochrome display screens Color display screens Monochrome display screens can display only one color text on single color background. The less expensive but a noisy version is a Dot matrix printer whereas expensive ones are inkjet and laser printers. The most common type of monitor uses a cathode ray tube (CRT).Monitor /Visual Display Unit The device that displays computer output to us has various names such as monitor. First we can group them according to the range of colors they can display. type of paper used. 16 . type of cable connection etc. Printers The job of a printer is to put on paper what you see on your monitor. This is a good solution especially if you do not have desk space for a large CRT monitor or you need a portable computer. These are capable of producing high quality printouts and their biggest advantage is that they are noiseless. Visual Display Unit (VDU) etc. They are flat screens with good color. speed. Plasma screens are used for very large screens and in some modern laptops. white letters on blue. How easy and how successfully it is done depends on the choice of your printer.

CLASS ACTIVITIES 1. input and output devices. Speakers Speakers output sound such as alerts. 1. Go to different computer vendors and find out the configurations of few personnel computers.4. Check and compare the following: Name and type of microprocessor.5 Communication hardware Communication hardware facilitates the connection between individual computers and groups of computers. which can be played through speakers. size and type of secondary storage. Identify the hardware components of a computer system in the school computer lab. music.1. size and type of memory. 2. voice etc. Voice output is now possible via sophisticated synthesizer software that can be installed in most personal computers. 3. clock speed. Plotters are especially useful for creating maps and architectural drawings.Plotters A plotter is a specialized output device designed to produce high-quality graphics in a variety of colors. A voice output system constructs the sonic equivalent of textual words. Details of Communication hardware can be found in section 1. Go to your computer resource center and note each different type of computer in use and find out what type of applications are run on each type.3 1. warranties and any other additional features. although they may also produce less complicated charts and graphics.2. 17 .

The abacus is still used today.C.2. Somewhere around 3000 BC the first (probably) mechanical counting device was created and was called the abacus. To do that humans used the first thing that you probably used to count anything. In 1642 another mechanical device called the Pascaline was created.1. All the earlier efforts to juggle numbers had two things in common.2. we have the ability to learn what happened firsthand from the pioneers. The interesting thing to note is that the counting -wheel design was used in calculators the 1960s. knots in ropes. until Pascaline 18 . To explore the history of computers we will look at the following topics: • • • Early Computational Devices Early Computers Generations of Computers 1. they used sticks. etc. When there were too many things to keep track of.1 Early Computational Devices The earliest computational devices were used to do things like keeping track of days. They were mechanical and made up of parts big enough to be assembled by hand.2 History of Computers What do you know about the history of computers ? The history of computers is unique because of the fact that it is really very recent and full of controversy. (after Blaise Pascal. a famous French mathematician). Human attempts to create tools to manipulate numbers date back at least as far as 3000 B. Because it is very recent.2. using fingers and toes. your fingers. etc. by some Chinese traders with fair speed and accuracy. count animals. The Pascaline used gears and wheels ("counting -wheels") to perform the calculations.

ENIAC These calculations required extreme precision and took quite a bit of time. Part of the war effort revolved around human computers performing calculations for bomb trajectories.Abacus The next major breakthrough in computer history revolves round Charles Babbage and his Difference Engine and Analytical Engine. The machines that Charles Babbage designed in the early 1800s were not electronic computers as we know them now but they were general purpose computational devices that were designed to be driven by steam engines.2. was to automate the calculations of bomb 19 . He thus laid the foundation for the modern computer. Charles Babbage The Analytical Engine. 1. One of the reasons for the development of the first computer.2. Charles Babbage is credited with being the "Father of Computing" due to the fact that his designs were way ahead of his time. The Difference Engine. "a person who performs computations". the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC).2 Early Computers The next major advances and the real beginning of the computer age took place in the mid 1940s. Prior to that the definition of computer was.

During this period we have witnessed the emergence multi-national of highly profitable including UNIVAC corporations Microsoft. Many advances have taken place between the creation of the ENIAC and now.2. the firstus ed magnetic computers drums for main memory. Among the most interesting and pertinent to us in the history the is the development took place of in the the microcomputer. they get very hot and like light bulbs. If you've vacuum ever tube had or been around radio. a or television. the first commercial computer. All 20 . and the growth and prosperity of pioneering companies like IBM. The programming of these computers required that wires were disconnected from one place and connected to another or that one circuit was turned on and another turned off. and failed often. and inefficient. slow. they burn out.2. The inventors of the ENIAC went on to create the Universal Automatic Computer (UNIVAC).trajectories. In addition to vacuum generation Vacuum Tubes tubes. Compaq. The use of magnetic drums and vacuum tubes made these computers extremely large and bulky. These first computers were extremely large. The major development of microcomputer 1970s. The computers that were developed during this time used vacuum tubes and wires for their circuitry. used a lot of electricity. generated a lot of heat. The first generation of computers also were very expensive to operate. when they are left on for a length of time. amplifier you know that. Dell. etc. 1.3 The First Generation (1951-1958) The first generation of computers took place during the mid 1940s to the late 1950s. Apple.

2. Companies that were purchasing computers during this time were using them mostly for accounting purposes and interacted with the computer via Transistors punched cards for input and printed paper for output. and magnetic tape units were also introduced. Computers became much smaller. Internal processing speeds increased and were measured in millionths of a second (microseconds). Programming languages evolved from the machine language using the binary 1 and 0 to something closer to the language of humans. TVs. there was a shift of emphasis from vacuum tubes to transistors and the use of trans istors allowed radios. The use of silicon chips or integrated circuits (IC) brought about the design and development of the minicomputer (multi-user desk sized computers). These languages known as assemblers and early high level languages were easier to use by people but required more work by the computer.2. amplifiers.4 The Second Generation (1959-1963) The second generation of computers took place during the late 1950s to mid 1960s. and computers to become much smaller. High speed card readers. printers.2. faster and less energy consuming.the language of the machine. 1.programming during this generation was done in Machine Language . and much more affordable due to the advent of the integrated circuit. They were still a far cry from English. The storage capacity was greatly increased with the introduction of magnetic disk storage and the use of magnetic cores for main storage. During this period. much faster.5 The Third Generation (1964-1979) The third generation of computers began during the mid 1960s and lasted until the mid 1970s. It was during this time period that humans began to interact with computers directly through the use of First Integrated Circuit (IC) 21 .2. the language we use for communication. 1.

yet there were some striking and important differences. Most third generation systems were designed to handle both scientific and business data processing applications. higher density magnetic tapes have come into use. Large mainframe computers are increasingly 22 . maintenance A third Generation Computer was reduced. Internal processing speeds were measured in billionths of a second (nanoseconds).6 The Fourth Generation (1979. The smaller circuits allowed for faster internal processing speeds resulting in faster execution of instructions. 1. This has led to what is called large scale A modern microchip integration (LSI) and very large scale integration (VLSI). As a result of this technology.Present) The computers of the fourth generation were not easily distinguished from earlier generations. computers were significantly smaller in physical size and lower in cost.2.2. These enhancements were of significant importance to computer us ers. while the overall cost has been greatly reduced. Improved program and operating software have been designed to provide better control. the portable disk pack has been developed. This allowed programs written for one computer model to run on most larger models of the same series. Manufacturers of third generation computers produced a series of similar and compatible computers. New mass storage was introduced during this generation.terminals with keyboards and monitors. The faster computers made it possible to run jobs that were considered impractic al or impossible on first or second generation equipment. resulting in faster processing. The manufacturing of integrated circuits has advanced to the point where thousands of circuits can be placed on a silicon wafer only a fraction of an inch in size. Considerable improvements were made to card readers and printers. Yet they have retained large memory capacities and are ultra fast. giving a storage capacity of over 100 million characters. Drum and disk capacities and speed have been increased. and faster. Because the miniature components were more reliable.

2. simultaneous instructions using more than one microprocessing chip.complex. The First Generation Electronic computers using vacuum tubes 23 . Evolution 3000 B.COLOSSUS Digital computer.ENIAC Von Neumann machine EDSAC (first stored program computer) Important People Chinese Blaise Pascal Charles Babbage Charles Babbage Herman Hollerith Jon Ambrose Fleming Eckert. Medium sized computers can perform the same tasks as large third generation computers. A fifth Generation Computer Computers of this generation make use of parallel processing and they are capable of performing multiple. The zeroth generation Focus Achievements Abacus Arithmetic Machine 'Difference engine' Analytical Engine Mechanized system of punched cards with holes Vacuum tubes . and yet they provide a large amount of computing power.C. John Atanasoff John von Neumann Mechanical computers.2. of four separate areas of The following Table summarizes the Evolution of computers. 1.7 The Fifth Generation (Future) This generation of computers represents a unification research: • • • • • Artificial lntelligence knowledge-based expert systems very high-level programming languages decentralized computing very large-scale integration technology (VLSI). An entirely new breed of computers called microcomputers and minicomputers have become smaller and less expensive. Mauchley.

Important People Robert Noyce The Fourth Generation Computers using VLSI devices Intelligent Computers The Fifth Generation 1.often called the microprocessing unit or. faster. designers have sought better. and the introduction of the microprocessor .2. more commonly.3 Microprocessor Development Since the days of the first vacuum tube computer. thin piece of silicon onto which the transistors .3.The Second Generation Electronic computers using transistors Invention of the transistor Beginning of the minicomputer John Bardeen. performing multiple.1 What is a Chip or Integrated Circuit (IC)? The integrated circuit or chip is a small. A chip might be as large as an inch on a side and can contain tens of millions of transistors. central processing unit (CPU) in 1971.2. Improvements in these areas directly mirror the evolution of electronic device technology from vacuum tubes to transistors. 1. Large Scale Integration (LSI). Simpler processors might consist of a few thousand transistors 24 . resistors. simultaneous instructions using more than one microprocessing chip. and Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI). Important milestones along the way include the introduction of integrated circuits (IC) in 1964. Walter Brattain. and William Shockley Kenneth Olsen Evolution The Third Generation Focus Electronic computers using Integrated Circuits Achievements Silicon integrated circuits Small-scale integrated (SSI) circuits Medium-scale (MSI) integrated circuits IBM system/360 Very large scale integration (VLSI) DEC Alpha – True 64 bit processor Use of parallel processing. and cheaper computer performance. integrated circuits. are etched according to a given circuit design. capacitors and diodes.

5 GHz) Applications IBM PCs and clones IBM PCs and clones IBM PCs and clones Multimedia PCs and Workstations High-end PCs and Workstations Multimedia PCs and Workstations Multimedia PCs and Workstations Multimedia PCs and Workstations The Central Processing Unit (CPU) performs the actual processing of data. a microprocessor lets your phone redial or determine the timing in a traffic light system. The CPU cons ists of three main parts: 1.2 The Central Processing Unit – CPU The Centra l Processing Unit (CPU) performs the actual computations inside a computer. telephones.etched onto a chip just a few millimeters square.1 Examples of Microprocessors Name 8086 80486 Pentium Pentium MMX Pentium ii Pentium iii Pentium iv Pentium iv Manufacturer/Year Intel / 1978 Intel / 1989 -1994 Intel / 1993 Intel / 1997 Intel / 1997 Intel /1999 Intel / 2000 – to date Intel / 2001 –to date Clock Speed MHz 10 20-100 75-200 166-233 133-450 450-500 500-750 1000-2500 (1.3. motor cars. or traffic lights. It follows the instructio ns of the program to manipulate data into info rmation. Hence microprocessors are commonly referred to as chips. etc. The transistors act like switches and can turn electricity ON and OFF or these can amplify current. The CPU is a made up of millions of microscopic transistors embedded in a circuit on a silicon wafer or chip. it is used in computers to store information and is used in computer memory.2. Microprocessors are not only used by computers. Some microprocessors are listed in the table 1. For example. They are used in many devices such as TVs. Therefore.2. Microprocessors A microprocessor is a single chip that contains the entire Central Processing Unit of a computer. Contro l Unit 25 .1. It does the bulk of the processing and controls the rest of the system. Table 1. 1.

and division are fundamental to all mathematical operations. memory addresses and the intermediate results of calcula tions. As soon as a particular instruction or piece of data is finished with. Arithmetic/Logic Unit: Arithmetic/Logic Unit performs arithmetic operations and logical operations and controls the speed of those devices.2 Central Processing Unit Control Unit: The control unit controls the flow of information and instructs the computer how to carry o ut program instructions. Arithmetic/logic unit (ALU).2. 3. It also carrie s out the controlling of input and output devices and passing of data to the ALU for computation. greater than (>). the ALU compares two pieces of data to see whether one is equal to (=). the next ones immediately replace it and information that results from 26 . It directs the movement of data and instructions between the main memory and the ALU. subtraction. instructions. Registers: Registers store very small amounts of data and instructions for short periods of time. Registers Control Unit and ALU are connected by a kind of electronic roadway called a bus as in Figure 1. That is. multiplication. Logical operations are comparisons. As you know. CPU Arithmetic/Logic Unit Control Unit B U S Bus Registers Memory Figure 1. arithmetic operations such as addition. Essentially. They hold various types of information such as data. or less than (<) the other.2. they hold the data and instructions that the CPU is currently working with and they can be thought of as being the CPU's workspace.

Data and instructions do not go into either the Arithmetic/Logic Unit (ALU) or the Control Unit (CU).the processing is returned to main memory. 27 . The ALU works on the data held in the registers acting on the instructions that are also held there.

a terabyte (TB) is actually 1.4 Evolution of Microprocessors Now you know what microprocessors are and the functions of ALU. means one 40 • Terabyte Tera trillion. Binary concept was originated from s witching O N and OFF electricity. computers use two state system which is called the binary system which has only two digits 0 and 1.073. so a megabyte (MB) is approximately million bytes. it is observed that complexity of these microprocessors have increased significantly over the last twenty five years. In a binary system. on average. bits are combined into groups. and a byte can represent one character. so this translates to approximately 5. which is short for b inary digit. digit or other value.576 (2 (2 30 20 ) bytes. To get a feel for these amounts.6 million words 1.627. For an example.3. • Kilobyte Kilo means one thousand.824 ) bytes. 0 represents the electrical current OFF and 1 by the current being ON. 511. Here we will look at how these microprocessors evolved. a gigabyte (GB) is actually 1. Actually.1. Giga means one billion. 0100 0001 represents the letter A. a kilobyte is 1. If your computer has 32 MB of RAM (a type of primary storage explained later). letters or special characters such as ! or %. Generally. The capacity of computer memory or a diskette is expressed in numbers of bytes. A group of 8 bits is called a byte.3 Computer Memory Unlike humans who use the decimal system which has 10 digits. contain 6 bytes.741. Actually a megabyte is 1.776 (2 ) bytes. In the computer. it is given in kilobytes or megabytes.2.024 (2 10 ) bytes.3.2. it can store 33. each 0 or 1 is called a bit. 28 . A written word might. Memory Capacity It is important to know how many 0s and 1s can be stored in a computer? We need to know the memory capacity. so a kilobyte (KB) is approximately one thousand bytes. consider the following examples.432 bytes of data. When we look at the technological advances of microprocessors. All data and programs that go into the computer will be represented in terms of these numbers.099. To represent numbers.554.048. • Megabyte • Gigabyte Mega means one million.

Intel and other competitors stopped using numeric brand names for microprocessors. Pentium chips offered just under twice the performance of Intel 80486 chip. When Intel 80486 was introduced in 1989 by Intel with its faster processing abilities it became more popular in personnel computers. Intel 8086 and Intel 8088. Intel 8086 was a 16 bit microprocessor designed and manufactured in 1978. the 80186. Intel 4004 chip Intel 8080 Intel 8080 was designed a manufactured by Intel and was nd generally considered as the first truly usable microprocessor deign. The 4004 was not very powerful. Intel 4004 was originally designed to use in electronic calculators. was the first single chip microprocessor as well as the first commercial microprocessor. It was a 4 bit chip which used only 4 bits to carry out internal processing in the CPU. Intel microprocessors moved from the 8088 to the 80286 to the 80386 to the 80486 to the Pentium to the Pentium II to 29 . They started to use word brand names such as Pentium.First Microprocessor – Intel 4004 Intel 4004 which was introduced in 1971. Intel x86 family x86 or Intel 80x86 was the generic name of a and microprocessor architecture first developed manufactured by Intel. This led to design the x86 architecture. Intel 80386 was used in many personnel computers from 1986 until 1991. the 8080 was followed by more advance Intel 8085. At Intel. Pentium processor was first introduced in 1993. The architecture was called x86 because Intel used to give the earliest processors in this family numeric brand names ending in the sequence “86”. the 80286 the 80386 and the 80486. Intel 8080 was used in many early computers This was a 8 bit chip which was running at 2 MHz. the 8086. Intel Pentium microprocessors After manufacturing Intel 486. This chip was introduced in 1974.

2.5 1.3. a new trend of microprocessor industry was noticed.1 Basic Operations of a Computer In this section we will discuss about an overview of the basic design of a computer. Pentium 4 processor can execute any piece of code that ran on the original 8088. Prepare a table of types of microprocessors presently available including their specifications.4.3 performs basically five major operations. A computer as shown in Figure 1.2. Basic organization of computer is the same for all computer systems as shown in Figure 1.4 Computer Organization and Architecture 1. This technology has been used in today’s notebook computers. CLASS ACTIVITIES 1. The output function 5. 1. but it does it about 5.the Pentium III to the Pentium 4. 1. You are bound to come across more and more advances in the microprocessor industry in the future. Pentium 4 was first released in November 2000. We will first check how different parts of a computer are organized and how various operations are performed between different parts to do a specific task. The processing function 4. The storage function 3.2. The input Function 2. Explain the function of the Central Processing Unit.000 times faster! With Intel Pentium 4 processor Intel’s announcement of releasing a new microprocessor called Pentium M which was for mobile technology. The control function : accepts data or instructions by way of input : stores data and instructions : processes data as required by the user : gives results in the form of output : controls all operations inside the computer 30 .

The Input Function: This is the process of entering data a n d instructions into the computer system. It is then sent back to the storage unit. Therefore the data is first stored in the storage unit for faster access and processing. Computer takes raw data as an input and performs some processing giving out processed data based on the instruction given to the computer. 31 . The Arithmetic/Logic Unit (ALU) of the Central Processing Unit (CPU) takes data and instructions from the storage unit and makes all calculations based on the instructions given and the type of data provided. It stores intermediate results of processing. The Processing Function: The task of performing operations like arithmetic and logical operations is called processing. 3. It provides space for storing data and instructions.3 Basic Organization of a computer Each of the above operations can be described as follows: 1. 2. The Storage Function: The process of saving data and instructions permanently is known as storage. Data has to be fed into the system before the actual processing starts. It is because the processing speed of Central Processing Unit (CPU) is so fast that the data has to be provided to CPU with the same speed. The storage unit performs the following major functions: • • It stores all data and instructions before and after processing.Data & Instructions INPUT UNIT STORAGE UNIT OUTPUT UNIT Results CONTROL UNIT Data flow Control signal flow ARITHMATIC/ LOGIC UNIT CPU Figure 1. This storage unit or the primary storage of the computer system is designed to do the above function.

Similarly the output produced by the computer after processing must also be kept inside the computer before being given out in human readable form. it will be routed to the Arithmetic/Logic function for processing and back to await its next use.4. 32 . 5. The above functions are based on the major operations of the computer. • As data. the Input or Output function is only partially contained within the CPU. As you observe. • As an instruction. but not directly equitable to given hardware. Other portions of these functions are located in other pieces of hardware. • • • All instructions and data are placed in the memory (storage) Instructions and data are processed sequentially as required by the stored program and the intermediate/final results are returned to storage. the information tells the computer where the next information is stored or what to do with the next packet of information obtained. The Control Function: Controlling of all operations like input. Again the output is also stored inside the computer for further processing. The flow of information within the computer can be described as follows • All information that the computer possesses must be entered via the Input function (except in special cases where some of the computer’s information may be permanently contained within the machine) • Depending on the type of information. The output function displays the results of the internal processing of information when called upon by the control function. it may be used either to instruct the computer what to do (instructions) or it may be used as data in arithmetic or logical operations (data). storage and output are performed by the control unit. processing. The Output Function: This is the process of producing results from the data for getting useful information. a given function may share a number of different physical hardware. It takes care of step by step processing of all operations inside the computer. It controls how instructions are executed and the above operations are performed. For example.

1. Basic feature of the stored program concept is that the instructions and data must be stored in the memory (storage) and instructions are stored sequentially in a separate area called program area.2. 6. 5. Describe the organization of the main components of a computer and their functions.2. computer memory is used to store data and instructions internally in the computer.2 Von Neumann Architecture John Von Neumann in 1946 presented the requirements for a general purpose computer and the structure of a computer that are still valid today. 3.2. Since the instructions are executed sequentially and data items are picked up from the specified storage location. control unit.4.This concept derived from the above flow is called the stored program concept.1 Memory System in a Computer Primary Storage or Main Memory As we know.5 1. 1. and a few such computers have been built. but the overwhelming majority of modern computers are based on the classic “Von Neumann Architecture” CLASS ACTIVITIES 1. These data and information will be stored in primary storage which is also called the main memory of the computer and it stores three type of information for very brief periods of time: 33 .5. 2. these computers are called sequential computers. Compare Von Neumann Architecture with some other architectures which may be found elsewhere. He described a general purpose computer as a machine containing five main units as Arithmetic and logic unit. The use of the binary number system A single sequentially addressed memory A separate arithmetic/logic unit for performing arithmetic and logical computations The stored program concept in which both the programs and its data are stored in memory. 4. input and output devices. memory. The overall functional organization of computers and how the major pieces fit together. There have been a number of alternative architectures proposed since 1946. A controller that fetches instructions from memory and executes them.6 1. He laid out some of the fundamental concepts inherent in the design of computer systems as: 1. 2.

RAM is made of several small storage locations which are Integrated Circuits and these small storage locations are called cells. the steps followed are quite different from what we can see on the display unit.3) As the program. when you reserve an appointment for a doctor. called Read Only Memory (ROM). processes them producing an output in binary form and again converts the binary output to decimal and/or character form for the user. wait for money to be paid. which is a set of instructions written in an orderly manner. check the availability of the doctor. The computer takes data and instructions in decimal and/or character form. converts them into binary form. it is necessary to transfer the processed data too at high speed. Each cell has a unique number assigned to it and this unique number is called the address of the cell 34 . storing very limited number of data and instructions only immediately before and after processing. As you understand. The program which contains those instructions is kept in the main memory of the computer and is followed for each request. both data and instructions are stored in computer memory in the binary form. store reservation information and give a reservation number. Registers have the least capacity. For example. Cache Memory Registers: Since the processing of data within the CPU takes place at high speed. So computer uses a number of special memory units called registers which are located inside the CPU. But inside the computer. called Random Access Memory (RAM) and permanent storage. the computer will have to follow several steps to give you an appointment: take the request. Registers store data and instructions temporarily and pass it on as directed by the control unit of the CPU.• • • Data to be processed by the CPU Instructions for the CPU as to how to process the data Operating System programs that include instructions for computer how to function (details can be found in Section 1. the computer is able to follow these instructions fast. calculate the channeling fee. is kept in the main memory. There are four main types of primary storage: § § § § Registers Random Access Memory (RAM) Read -Only Memory (ROM). Random Access Memory (RAM) Primary storage provides both temporary storage for data during the processing stage.

ROM generally stores standard processing programs which give instructions how to start the computer and the basic input/output programs that examine and initialize various equipment attached to the computer when the computer is switched on. This memory is like a large cabinet containing as many drawers as there are addresses in memory. they are first loaded in to RAM where they are held temporarily until the computer needs them. memory. Address 2002 2003 2004 2005 Cell Content 00100110 10100110 00111110 10101010 Figure 1.4 Depiction of a Random Access Memory This memory is referred to as the Random Access Memory because the memory locations of the Random Access Memory can be directly accessed to store and retrieve data. Data and instructions stored in the ROM will not be lost on failure of power supply and therefore. Each drawer contains a word and the address is written on the outside of the drawer as in Figure 1. RAM is therefore a volatile memory and it loses its content when the power is switched off.and is used to identify the cell.4. the storage of data and instructions inside RAM is Random Access Memory temporary and data and information which have been stored will disappear from RAM as soon as the computer is switched off. Whenever the computer wants to work with data or instructions. ROM is known as non-volatile 35 . ROM can only be read by the CPU and cannot be written on. Read Only Memory (ROM) Read Only Memory stores data and instructions permanently and unlike RAM. Therefore. These programs will be supplied by the manufacturers and will be permanently kept inside the ROM.

7 1. Explain what cache memory is and explain how it is different from main memory.3 Software What is software? It is important to note that a computer cannot do anything on its own. and associated documents. To decrease the mismatch in operating speed.5. 36 . It is used to store programs or data currently being executed or temporary data frequently used by the CPU. the Cache Memory is accessed much faster than conventional RAM. Discuss the difference between different primary storage devices. To be precise. So the Cache Memory makes the RAM to be faster and it also supplements the RAM. a small memory chip is attached between CPU and RAM whose access time is close to the processing speed of CPU. then the data is first loaded from RAM into the Cache Memory. Therefore the performance of the CPU decreases due to the slow speed of RAM. Usually. 2. and then taken by the CPU from the Cache Memory as shown in Figure 1. Since it is expensive to have a bigger size of Cache Memory its size is normally kept small. Such a sequence of instructions written in a language that can be understood by a computer is called a computer program. This memory is called Cache Memory. It must be instructed to do a desired job. If the data is not available in the Cache Memory. It is the program that controls the activity of processing by the computer and the computer performs precisely what the program wants it to do. software means a collection of programs whose objective is to enhance the capabilities of the hardware.5 Random Access Memory (RAM) Arrangement of Cache Memory CLASS ACTIVITIES 1.Cache memory The speed of the CPU is high compared to the access time of Random Access Memory (RAM). The CPU will first retrieve data from the Cache Memory. procedures. 1. CPU Cache Memory Figure 1. The term Software refers to the set of computer programs. Hence it is necessary to specify a sequence of instructions that a computer must perform to solve a problem.

the programs stored in the Read -Only Memory (ROM) is executed which activates different units of the computer. System Software allows application software to be run on the computer with less time and effort. Therefore.3. 1. 1.3. and monitors the use of hardware such as memory. These programs are called system software.2 Application Software An Application Software also referred to as an application package.1 Types of Software Computer software is normally classified in to two broad categories: • • Application Software System software Application software is usually custom written or packaged and it enables the user to perform their work (example Microsoft Word). For example. 37 . a payroll package produces pay slips as the major output and an application package for processing examination results produces mark sheets as the major output along with some other statistical reports. system software is also called as Operating System.3. a program written by a scientist to solve his particular research problem is also application software. is a set of programs designed to carry out operations for a specified purpose. Therefore. card readers disk etc. system software may be defined as a set of programs designed to control the operation of a computer system. CPU etc. It communicates with printers. Similarly.1. System Software generally performs tasks such as controlling all operations required to move data in and out of the computer. System software enables the computer to run application software (example Microsoft Windows). This makes the computer ready for you to work on it. The programs that constitute an application package are known as application programs and the person who prepares application programs is known as an application programmer.3 System Software (Operating System) When you switch on the computer.. Application software cannot be run without having system software. A computer cannot work without an operating system.

OS/2. are highly trained computer specialists and important members of the computer architectural team. who prepare systems software.8 1. 2. List the differences between application software and system software.User Application Software System Software Hardware Figure 1. The creation of systems software is a complex task. software and the user of a computer system Some common operating systems are DOS. They are normally developed and distributed by computer manufacturers. Systems programmers.5 Relationship among hardware. various versions of Windows. Because of its technical complexity. All these behave in very different ways and have different hardware requirements and they will not run on all machines. UNIX. systems software is rarely developed in -house. and Linux. Explain why a computer is not useful without the system software. 38 . CLASS ACTIVITIES 1.

1 Introduction to Communication The Romans used the Latin word communication when they meant “to make common. to share.4. Communication is the sharing of information or messages between two or more entities.1. or to impart”.4 Communication and Computer Networks 1. Why do we communicate? I want to… v Discuss some subject matter v Inform my abilities to another person v Get an appointment v Have a chat with my friend v Transfer a file v Send e -mails v SMS! 39 .

40 . The student also can send some acknowledgments of the receipt of the tutorial sent by teachers using the same network. Therefore.1. If the teacher’s PC is connected to the computers of students through networking.2 Components of a Data Communication System We all are familiar with some sorts of communication in our day to day life. data transmission is the movement of data or information using some standard communication methods s u c h a s electrical s ignals carried along a conductor or microwave link or optical signals along an optical fiber etc. Thus irrespective of geographical areas. if PCs are connected through communication channel. We can identify three basic elements of any communication process. Suppose your teacher wants to send some tutorials to his students.4. he can send the tutorial to all students within minutes. The same concept pertains to data communication too. Similarly data and information from one computer system can be transmitted to other systems across geographical areas. computer files and any other program can be transmitted to other computer systems within seconds. when you speak to your friend over the telephone. For communication of information and messages we sometimes use telephone and postal communication systems. the data and information. he has to use his PC and Word Processing package to prepare the tutorial. you are the sender. Those are: § § § The Sender The Medium The Receiver For example. Message Message Medium Teacher = sender You =receiver Communication is a process of transferring messages or information from one point to another. The telephone line through which your voice is transmitted is the medium and your friend is the receiver. how can he send those? First. and he wants to use his computer to send these tutorials.

data. voice. ensure that the sending devices.6 . route messages along the best path. there are some rules and procedures to use a telephone network which leads to a sequence of activities such as pick up the phone. Communication Protocols You may be wondering how the computers send and receive data across communication links. ensure that the right message gets to the right receiver. which provides the connection as in Figure 1. or full-motion video information. A protocol is a set of rules that governs how information is delivered. documents. listen for a dial tone. in particular.6 Modem Two-way transmission model To transmit and receive information. establish the interface between the sender and the receiver. computer devices (computers. Transmitting/ Receiving devices Transmit Transmitting/ Receiving devices Modem medium Figure 1.Data communication is the function of transporting data from one location to another. Similarly in data communication. a communication system must perform a number of separate functions. For example. system terminals. wait for the phone to ring. it is necessary to have a transmitter. The procedure of data transformation is commonly called protocol. In this case the sender and the receiver a r e normally machines. convert messages from one speed to anther. The system must do all of the following: transmit information. some software defines the procedures and standards for the communication. check the message for errors and rearrange the format if necessary. There must be some set of rules to instruct computer systems and devices as to how exactly data is to be transferred from one place to another. peripheral and devices software like that printers). 41 . receiving devices and communication links are operational and secure the information at all times. dial a number having a specific number of digits. Communication Model To transmit information between two locations. and say hello. graphics. These systems can transmit text. transmits A communication consists of hardware information from one location to another. receiver and a transmission medium.

two or more computers are linked together with a medium and data communication devices for the purpose of communicating data and sharing resources. The computer that provides resources to other computers on a network is known as server. whic h access shared network resources. Therefore.3 Introduction to Computer Networks 1. in order to send digital signals over an ordinary telephone line not designed for digital signals. Modem CLASS ACTIVITIES 1. Analog signals vary continuously. are usually represented by a series of 1's and 0's. which are used by computers. Your friend will have to convert the analogue signals back to the digital image. a special device called a modem should be used. an example of an analog signal is a sound wave. which is processed by the receiving computer. When the signal reaches its destination. 1.4. Wide Area Network (WAN) 42 .4.1 What is a Computer Network? A computer network is an interconnection of various computer systems located at different places. Modems are often used to enable computers to communicate with each other across telephone lines. A modem converts the digital signals of the sending computer to analog signals that can be transmitted through telephone lines. Modem is the device that converts between analog and digital signals.Modem If you want to send a picture of your family to one of your friends via a telephone line which transmits only analogue signals. Computer Networks may be classified on the basis of geographical area in two broad categories. Since people need to communicate over long as well as short distances. Local Area Network (LAN) 2.9 1.3. Digital signals. geographic size of data communication networks are important. 2. you may have to convert the digital image to analogue signals and then transmit. another modem reconstructs the original digital signal. Describe the main components of a communication model and the function of each component. In the network the individual computers. Explain why protocols are needed in a communication system. are known as workstations or nodes. 1. In a computer network.

a LAN allows a large number of users to share corporate resources such as storage devices.3.4. users who have access via the network will be able to communicate with others.3. but it can be sent through a network which covers a wide geographic area. 1. A computer network spanning a regional.2 Local Area Networks (LANs) If your teacher wants to send some information to his students within the school. software and data files. he will not be able to send these information via a LAN. LAN integrates a wide range of functions into a single system.4.4 Difference between LAN and WAN • • LAN is restricted to limited geographical area of few kilometers. • • The speed of data transmission is much higher in LANs than in WANs. • Cost of data transmission in LANs is less because the transmission medium is owned by a single organization. 43 . 1. This network will connect two or more computers and other devices such as printers within the school premises. But WANs cover great distances and operate nationwide or even worldwide. he will be able to use a network setup within the school. Communication is done through telephone lines and satellite or terrestrial communication links. In LANs.1. In the c a s e o f WANs the cost of data transmission is very high because the transmission mediums used are hired. printers. Since the computers and other devices are connected to the network. It is because in a LAN the distance covered is relatively short. Few data transmission errors occur in a LAN as compared to that of a WAN. national or global area is called a Wide Area Network (WAN).3 Wide Area Networks (WANs) For example. In WANs there is no physical connection. The distance between computers connected to WAN is larger. the computer terminals and peripheral devices are connected with wires and coaxial cables. Usually. Therefore the transmission medium used are normally telephone lines. These networks with two or more communicating devices within the same premises are called Local Area Networks (LAN). if your teacher wants to send some information to a student who is residing in a different geographical area such as in another city. microwaves and satellite links.3.4.

refer to the way in which machines of a network are linked together. • • • • Star Topology Ring Topology Tree Topology Bus Topology Each topology has strengths and weaknesses. There are four basic network topologies. and the network’s ability to continue through. It determines the data flow paths that may be used between any pair of machines of the network. a failure in any device or connection to the network. computers and other equipment are connected to networks. It is important to know how these computers and other equipment can be connected to networks.4 Network Topologies Both in LANs and WANs. in communication networks. or recover after. speed. System designers should consider performance issues such as delay.4. reliability.1. The term ‘topology’. Star Topology Ring Topology 44 .

1 Star Topology In Star topology a number of workstations or computers are directly linked to a central workstation which is called a server or central node. The central node controls all the activities of the nodes. The major disadvantage of star topology is that failure of the central node disables communication throughout the whole network. Any communication between stations on a star LAN must pass through the central node. 45 .Tree Topology Bus Topology 1. The advantages of the star topology are: • • It offers flexibility of adding or deleting of workstations from the network.4.4. There is b i-directional communication between various nodes. Breakdown of one station does not affect any other device on the network.

5. The advantage of this topology is that any signal transmitted on the network passes through all the LAN stations. All users can access and update files from anywhere on the network.4 Bus Topology In Bus topology.2 Ring Topology In Ring topology each station is attached to nearby stations on a point to point basis so that the entire system is in the form of a ring.3 Tree Topology In Tree topology.4. 46 . Data and software can be stored centrally.4. Thus the data packets circulate along the ring in either clockwise or anti-clockwise direction. 1.1 Advantages of computer networks • • • • • Devices (e.4.4. Transmission from any station travels the length of the bus in both directions and can be received by all workstations. In this topology data is transmitted in one direction only. The disadvantage of ring network is that the breakdown of any one station on the ring can disable the entire system.5 Advantages and Disadvantages of Computer Networks 1. Therefore. all workstations are connected to a single communication line called a bus. a group of star-connected workstations are connected to a linear bus. 1. Networks with Tree topology is more difficult to configure compared to networks with other topologies. Network security can ensure that only authorised users can access data. Tree topology combines characteristics of linear bus and star topology. The advantage of this topology is that it supports hardware of different vendors to be connected.4. printers) can be shared.1. In this type of network topology there is no central node as in star topology. 1. The advantage of the bus topology is that • • It is quite easy to set up. The disadvantage of bus topology is that any break in the bus is difficult to identify. Software can be shared. The main disadvantage is that if the main linear bus fails it affects the entire network.4. If one station of the topology fails it does not affect the entire system.4.4.g.

1. Telnet or remote login.6 Applications of Data Communication and Computer Networks The Internet The Internet is the largest computer network in the world. text-only method for accessing internet documents. Allows your computer to rapidly retrieve complex files intact from a remote computer and view or save them on your computer. long distance. Computers on the Internet may use one or all of the following Internet services: • • • Electronic mail (e-mail). It is a collection of more than 200. • Gopher. Permits your computer to log onto another computer and use it as if you were there. fastest growing services on the Internet. Gopher has been almost entirely subsumed in the World Wide Web. Network breakdowns can cause chaos. It was started in 1969 by the Department of Defense in the United State of America (USA) with one computer in Californ ia and three in Utah.000 individual computer networks owned by governments. It is actually a network of networks.2 Disadvantages of computer networks • • • • Ne tworks can be expensive to install and operate.5. 47 . Security must be of the highest level possible to ensure that unauthorised access and infection by computer viruses are prevented. backbone networks.4. • The World Wide Web (WWW or "the Web"). Server breakdowns cause the whole network to stop working. The largest. These interconnected networks exchange information seamlessly by using the same open nonproprietary standards and protocols.1. but you may still find gopher documents linked to in web pages. FTP or File Transfer Protocol. universities. nonprofit organizations and private companies. Permits you to send and receive mail. regardless of their locations. An early. Initially ARPANET allowed researchers to share computing resources and exchange information. They are connected via high-speed.4. Provides access to discussion groups. The Internet began as one network called the Advanced Research Projects Administration Network (ARPANET).

Visit the following websites and describe what information you could find from them: i. and video. Therefore the mailing system is exceedingly fast and is being used widely for mail transfer. When you log onto the Internet using Netscape or Microsoft's Internet Explorer or some other browser.gov. 4. view images. This is one of the most widely used features of Internet.World Wide Web (WWW) The WWW incorporates all of the Internet services above and much more. speak and hear voice. devices. With electronic mail the service is similar. Discuss the communication media.lk ii. and view programs. 2. animation. How do you describe a data communication network? What are the main network topologies and compare their advantages and disadvantages? Develop a plan describing how you would build a telecommunications infrastructure in your school.gov. But here data are transmitted through Internet and therefore within minutes the message reaches the destination may it be anywhere in the world.piru. and services you would use.10 1. listen to sound files.lk 3. www. providing your computer has the hardware and software to do these things. You can retrieve documents. Mails are regularly used today where with the help of postage stamp we can transfer mails to anywhere in the world. www. CLASS ACTIVITIES 1. 48 .moe. you are viewing documents on the World Wide Web E-mail E-mail stands for electronic mail.

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