“An integrated circuit (also known as IC, microcircuit, microchip, silicon chip, or chip) is a miniaturized electronic circuit (consisting mainly of semiconductor devices, as well as passive components) that has been manufactured in the surface of a thin substrate of semiconductor material.” (Integrated circuit)
Microprocessors are the most advanced kind of an integrated circuit and control most of our electronic appliances including cellular phones, microwaves and our personal computers.
The CPU or the Central Processing Unit of the Computer is the brains of the computer. On large computers, the CPU requires a printed circuit board, while on personal computers, the CPU is housed in a microprocessor. Its three main components are the
- The register section,
- ALU: Arithmetic Logic Unit, which performs the arithmetic and logic operations
- CU: Control Unit, which extracts instructions from memory and decodes and executes them, calling on the ALU when necessary.
In general, a CPU performs the following sequence of operations:
• Fetch cycle: Fetch an instruction from memory, then go to the decode cycle.
• Decode cycle: Decode the instruction—that is, determine which instruction
has been fetched—then go to the execute cycle for that instruction.
• Execute cycle: Execute the instruction, then go to the fetch cycle
and fetch the next instruction.
“Everything in a computer is represented as numbers. Each memory location has a numeric “address” that identifies it. Each I/O device (disk, CD, keyboard, printer) has a range of assigned address numbers. Every key pressed on the keyboard generates numbers. Every dot on the computer monitor has an address.” (CPU Design). For example, the word processor program has been designed to recognize a specific sequence of numbers for a specific word.
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