Download Computers and the Cybernetic Society by Michael A. Arbib (Auth.) PDF

By Michael A. Arbib (Auth.)

ISBN-10: 0120590468

ISBN-13: 9780120590469

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Example text

Each programming language has its own format for instructions and its own rules for how to string instructions together to make different programs. A general-purpose computer is built with hardware that lets the machine understand programs written in one special programming language called the machine language. If you carefully spell out in machine language how a job is to be done, step-by-step, then the computer will obey these instructions perfectly. Computers from different manufacturers—and even different "lines" of computers from the same manufacturer—are built with different machine languages.

1 THE IDEA OF A PROGRAM 25 factory where it is built. Examples of special-purpose computers are digital wristwatches and the new electronic devices that control a car's ignition. We see here the distinction between the hardware of a computer—the actual circuitry with which it comes from the factory—and the software— the programs written for a computer. " Suppose, for example, you are telling a friend how to fix a car. Just as in writing a good program, you are very careful to spell out step-by-step what must be done.

Often, the control signals like 'This is data'5 or 'This is a FORTRAN program" or "Start executing" are punched on cards in the punched card deck. These special cards are called job-control cards. The process is similar for magnetic tapes. " The computer reads in the program and data and starts its work.

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Computers and the Cybernetic Society by Michael A. Arbib (Auth.)

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