Computer Crash Course

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Computer Crash CourseIn this article, I will give you a summary of my document Computer Crash Course. This document is a guideline for teachers in basic computer knowledge.


Hardware is all the “ware” you can touch, this means all pieces of the computer you can see.
For example the screen, the mouse, the keyboard, the interfaces and so on. A simplified computer includes a CPU, memory, bus, interfaces and I/O devices.

The first “real” computer was the Z3 from Konrad Zuse (1941). The first PC appeared 1975, it was the Altair 8800.

You can distinguish the following computer types : mainframes are huge machines, super computers are the fastest ones, workstations are for professional use and more powerful than PCs, minicomputers don’t exist anymore, they had a size between mainframes and PCs and finally the PC is basically designed for personal use.

Computer architectures

You will find details about the “von Neuman” and instruction set based architectures like RISC and CISC in my PDF document.

Operating System

The Operating System (OS) is a piece of software which connects the hardware to the programs/user. The first operating system was developed in the 1960’s.

There are the following operating system types : batch processes all tasks serially – there is no user interaction, time sharing shares the computer resources with several users, single user and single task is what the name says – one user and one task at a time, real time means the system reacts in real time to events.

Basic elements of an operating system kernel are : the task manager, the scheduler, the dispatcher as well as CPU- memory and IO-management and the interrupt handlers.

Application Programs

The basic ones are  the word processor, spread sheet, graphic programs (vector and bitmap) and database.

Software Development

Software development signifies the whole process to find a solution for a given problem in using appropriate methods and tools to create a software application. The process goes from analysis to design, implementation, testing and debugging to installation and operation.


Programming is the implementation (coding) of a problem/solution in a programming language. There are basically the following programming languages machine language, assembly language and the high level programming languages.

The first programming language appeared in 1954, this was the birthday of Fortran. Some popular programming languages are : Java, the C family, Python and PHP.

To write a program you need some tools like the :

  • source code editor, compiler, linker and debugger
  • source code editor, interpreter and debugger


The Internet is a worldwide collection of computer networks, cooperating with each other to exchange data using a common software standard. Through telephone wires and satellite links, Internet users can share information in a variety of forms.

1958 The basics of the Internet appeared as ARPANET an U.S. department of defense project.

1991 CERN releases the “www” developed by Tim Berners-Lee.

1992 The U.S. government began to pull out of network management and handed it over to commercial entities which offered Internet access to general public for the first time.

A Website is a collection of web pages, hosted on a web server. A Website is accessible through the Internet by using a web browser.

If you want more information, you can get my PDF document for free, no e-mail required for downloading, no fancy marketing tricks. It’s just FREE ! Click on Computer Crash Course to start the download.

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