CS10001 Class Note: Chapter 1 Our Digital Planet Objectives



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CS10001 Class Note: Chapter 1 Our Digital Planet



  • Objectives

  • Describe several ways digital technology plays a critical role in modern life

  • Discuss several key trends in the evolution of computers and digital technology

  • Describe the major types of computers and their principle uses

  • Explain how the explosive growth and evolution of the Internet is changing the way people use information technology

  • Explain how our information age differs from any time that came before

  • Discuss the social and ethical impact of information technology on our society




  • Creating Communities on the Living Web

  • MySpace creates an online community experience for young people. Tom Anderson and Chris DeWolfe are the founders

  • Flickr creates a community for people to share their pictures.




  • Living in a Nondigital World

  • Computers are no longer a luxury but rather a commodity.

  • Computers and their applications are involved in all aspects of our daily life.




  • Computers in Perspective

  • Every computer in use today follows the basic plan laid out by Charles Babbage and Lady Lovelace.

  • The first real computers:

      • 1939: Konrad Zuse completed the first programmable, general-purpose digital computer.

      • About the same time, the British government was assembling a top-secret team of mathematicians and engineers to crack Nazi military codes.

        • 1943: The team led by mathematician Alan Turing and others completed Colossus, considered by many to be the first electronic digital computer.

      • 1939: Iowa State University professor John Atanasoff developed what could have been the first electronic digital computer, the Atanasoff-Berry Computer (ABC).

      • 1944: Thanks to a one million dollar grant from IBM, Harvard professor Howard Aiken developed the Mark I.

      • John Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert helped the U.S. effort in World War II by constructing a machine to calculate trajectory tables for new guns.

    • ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer)

      • After the war, Mauchly and Eckert started a private company called Sperry and created UNIVAC I, the first general-purpose commercial computer.

    • Vacuum tubes were used in early computers.

    • Transistors replaced vacuum tubes starting in 1956.

    • By the mid-1960s transistors were replaced by integrated circuits.

  • Integrated circuits brought:

    • Increased reliability

    • Smaller size

    • Higher speed

    • Higher efficiency

    • Lower cost

    • 1971: The first microprocessor was invented by Intel engineers.

    • The PC (personal computer) revolution began in 1970:

      • Apple

      • Commodore

      • Tandy

    • Moore’s law–Gordon Moore predicted that the number of transistors that can be packed into a silicon chip of the same price would roughly double every two years.




  • Computers Today: A Brief Taxonomy

    • Special-purpose computer: Dedicated computers that perform specific tasks.

        • Controlling the temperature and humidity

        • Monitoring your heart rate

        • Monitoring your house security system

    • The program is etched on silicon so it cannot be altered. This is called firmware.

  • Personal computers and workstations

    • PCs serve a single user at a time

      • PCs are a tool for:

        • Enhancing productivity

        • Creativity

        • Communication

      • PCs can be classified as:

        • Desktop

        • Workstation

        • Laptop

    • Desktop computer

      • A PC designed to sit on a desk or table for extended periods of time

      • Common components:

        • Tower with internal key components

        • Monitor

        • Keyboard

        • Mouse

        • Speakers

      • Has one or more power cables connecting it to an electrical outlet

      • Workstations

        • High-end desktop computers with massive computing power used for high-end interactive applications

        • As workstations become less expensive and desktops become more powerful, the line that separates them is becoming as much a marketing distinction as a technical one.

      • Laptop, or notebook, computers are personal computers designed with portability in mind.

        • Some components are left off to help keep size and weight down.

    • Handheld devices

      • Handheld devices are small enough to tuck into pockets and serve the needs of users who value mobility over a full-sized keyboard and screen.

        • PDA (personal digital assistant)

          • Palm

          • Pocket PC

        • Smart phones

          • iPhone

    • Servers

      • Computers designed to provide software and other resources to other computers over a network.

  • Mainframes and supercomputers

    • Mainframes

      • Used by large organizations, such as banks and airlines, for big computing jobs

      • Communicate with mainframe through terminals

      • Multiple communications at one time through process of timesharing

    • Supercomputers

      • For power users who need access to the fastest, most powerful computers made




  • Networks

    • Connect devices together

    • 1960s: Internet developed with backing of the U.S. government

  • The Internet explosion–over a billion people with Internet access by the end of 2005

    • Electronic mail

      • E-mail software

    • World Wide Web

      • Led the Internet’s transformation from a text-only environment into a multimedia landscape incorporating pictures, animation, sounds, and video

    • Web browsers

        • Programs that in effect, serve as navigable windows into the Web

    • Hypertext links

        • Tie together millions of Web pages created by diverse authors

    • Internet supports varied activities

        • eBay used to make international transactions

        • Real-time multiplayer games




  • Into the Information Age

  • In the history of our society we have had:

    • An agricultural age

    • An industrial age

  • Now we are in a new age, the information age:

    • More and more people earn their living working with words, numbers, and ideas.

  • Living with digital technology

    • Explanations: clarifying technology

      • Computer literacy is already improving our day-to-day lives and careers.

    • Applications: digital technology in action

      • Applications enable you to use a computer for specific purposes.




  • Living with Digital Technology

  • Digital technology in action

    • You can benefit from knowing about:

      • Network applications

      • Word processing and desktop publishing

      • Spreadsheets and other number-crunching applications

      • Databases

      • Computer graphics and digital image processing

      • Digital audio, digital video, and multimedia

      • Entertainment

      • Customized problem solving

      • Artificial intelligence

  • Implications: social and ethical issues

    • The threat to personal privacy posed by large databases and computer networks

    • The hazards of high-tech crime and the difficulty of keeping data secure

    • The difficulty of defining and protecting intellectual property in an all-digital age

    • The threat of automation and the dehumanization of work

    • The abuse of information as a tool of political and economic power

    • The emergence of biodigital technology

    • The dangers of dependence on complex technology




  • Into the Information Age

  • Working the Web

    • Web search strategies

        • Get to know your search engines

        • Be specific when you search

        • Know your plusses and minuses

        • Be selective

        • Triangulate

        • Beware of urban legends

        • Organize your favorites

        • Protect your privacy

        • Be conscious of cookies and bugs

        • Remember that online shopping isn’t always better

        • Shop with care

  • Computer ethics

    • ACM (Association for Computing Machinery)

    • Guidelines for deciding how to “do the right thing:”

      • Know the rules and the law

      • Don’t assume that it’s OK if it’s legal

      • Think scenarios

      • When it doubt, talk it out

      • Make yourself proud

      • Remember the golden rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you

      • Take the long view

      • Do your part




  • Lesson Summary

  • Computers have evolved at an incredible pace since Charles Babbage’s plan for an Analytical Engine.

  • Computers today come in all shapes and sizes, with specific types being well-suited for particular jobs.

  • Connecting to a network enhances the value and power of a computer:

      • Internet

      • WWW

      • Email

  • Computers and information technology have changed the world rapidly and irreversibly.

  • Emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, offer promise for future applications.

  • Computers threaten our privacy, our security, and perhaps our way of life.

  • Information technology is here to stay.


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