Computer architecture refers to a number of similar ideas in the fields of computer science and technology. At a software level, it refers to assembly language systems that connect the various pieces of computer hardware into a single functional system. When dealing with hardware, it applies equally to the methods of creating and using hardware and the process of building computer components. Each of these definitions describes a similar process – the idea of starting with a computer system that doesn’t work and making it work – but they all look at the process from a different point of view.
Computer architecture involves the methods of creating and using hardware and the process of building computer components.
The software version of the computer architecture is probably the most difficult for a non-technical person to understand. A computer system is performing thousands of tasks at any given time that have nothing to do with what the user is doing. These tasks form the basis of computer systems. It could be moving information from short-term memory to long-term memory, or checking the time against a scheduled task to see if it’s wake-up time.
Computer architecture affects how internal components, such as the processor, work.
All of these computer architecture functions rely on machine code to understand how the different parts of the machine are connected. This code creates a basic blueprint of the computer’s hardware that high-end programs use to access things like processor time and memory addresses. This machine code schema defines the system structure from a software point of view.
The first hardware version of the computer architecture is the form used to design the software. This form of architecture focuses on the way various parts of the machine will send and receive data to work together. For example, if a memory module wants information formatted in a specific way, it is important that the processor sends it in that format so that the data is stored. If the various parts of the computer cannot communicate with each other, the system will not work.
The other hardware version of computer architecture focuses on single pieces of hardware. This method requires designers to look at an individual piece and determine how it will work. Almost all computer hardware contains a complex series of instructions for manipulating data, receiving instructions, and issuing commands. All of this takes place within the hardware, requiring a fully realized language and command system. In essence, each piece of hardware operates like a very specialized computer.
Since each of these definitions talks about a different facet of computer architecture, they all fit together perfectly. First, a designer looks at the individual pieces of hardware and determines how they work. Then the pieces are put together to form a hardware system. Finally, machine code is used to link these systems together so that programs can interact with the hardware.
Computer architecture is often used to refer to the act of designing and building physical computer components.