Randy Cannon: Computer Science Information

Randy Cannon, What is a Computer System?


Randy Cannon has studied Computer Science and is excited to share the knowledge of Computer Science with you. The following information focuses on an introduction to Computer Systems.

A computer system is a dynamic entity used to solve problems and interact with its environment using hardware, software, and data (Dale & Lewis). Computer hardware consists of the physical elements that make up the machine. For example, the hardware of a complete personal computer may include a system unit that some people call a tower. This contains some of the most important components of the computer system such as the Central Processing Unit (CPU), Onboard Connections Ports, Random Access Memory Cards, Graphic Cards, Sound Cards, a Motherboard, a Power Supply, and Drives, whether they be Hard Drives, Floppy Drives, Optical Drives, or Flash Drives (Myers).


Computer hardware also consists of peripheral devices such as the monitor you’re using to read this post, the keyboard, the mouse, speakers, joysticks, and printers. I might as well mention the connectors as well when thinking about hardware which is what connects the peripheral devices to the system unit like your many different USB connectors RJ-11 and RJ-45 connectors for the phone and Ethernet modems, your 1/8-inch audio connectors, HDMI connectors, and I could go on and on about all the many connectors I have in bags and storage containers I’ve collected over the years. I’ve had to organize them time and time again when they start looking like the snake pit on Indiana Jones.


It’s quite a hassle trying to pull out a cable when they’re all intertwined with each other. Computer hardware and all of its components come in many different specifications to suit various requirements. A person could purchase a Raspberry Pi for under $50 for hobby builds, or purchase complete supercomputers mainframes for scientific discovery costing millions of dollars.There are even server devices for business applications so what ever your need there is a device to serve it.

Computer software is a collection of programs that gives instructions to be carried out by a computer with the main goal of solving problems (Dale & Lewis). The different types of computer software include specific purpose applications that interact with users to accomplish tasks like word processing programs, e-mail programs, web browsers, and various desktop publishing and processing programs and the operating systems that support them with their many programs called services that run in the background many invisible to the user (Meyers). These operating systems come in different flavors and have their own purposes as well. Here are a few of the most popular operating systems in no particular order, Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X. Some versions are free and open sourced and others come with a premium price and are closed sourced. Whatever your purpose may be, you will surely find software that supports it or a program developer who will build one for you. You may even learn to program and do it yourself (DIY). When it comes to computer software, wherever there is a will, there is certainly a way.


The computer data, which at the most rudimentary level is based on a series of ones and zeros called binary code, is the basic values or facts, is the information, which has been organized or processed for use, that a computer system manages and computers would be useless without data (Dale & Lewis). Computers manage data and without data, computers stand idly by. The different types of data manged by computers include, numbers, text, audio, images/graphics, and video. Consider all of the data that exists in the world.

Computers store data in databases and people use these databases for analysis to make projections/forecasts based on trends found within them. Companies also used this data for marketing to various demographics online. Think about the wealth of information Facebook has on all if its members. Google can market to keywords entered into their search engine and now through Google+ by demographics, but Facebook has a paid advertisement program where marketers can target their adds on various populations by gender, age, location, so on and so forth. Just think about how much information you share on these social networking sites which of course is being tracked and kept in their databases and as of recently discovered, think of how much of this information was shared with the government who most desirably wanted it for their purposes as well. Data is digital currency; I mean literally these days as dollar amounts in your bank account, PayPal accounts, and Google wallet accounts is kept on computer databases and even with the invention of Bitcoin, this is more prevalent. Eventually, computers will become more effective and efficient at processing all data and what a wonderful world that will be in the Internet of Everything.

A computer system has several layers: communications, applications, operating systems, programming, hardware, information. The layers of a computer system are represented in an abstraction to divide complex information (Dale & Lewis). Throughout this blog, I will cover these layers so keep coming back if you want to learn more about computer science.

(Dale & Lewis). have stated that a computer system consists of hardware, software, and data but failed to mention the most important component to a computer system, the user.


Sure without data, the computer is useless but that data comes from people. People use the hardware, the software, and the data, and without users, computers will sit in warehouses and on shelves in department stores waiting to be purchased as they become quickly outdated and obsolete. The computers serve the users and that is the most important component of the computer system so when developing hardware, software, and the management of data, always keep the user in mind.


Randy Cannon has used the Fifth Edition of Computer Science Illuminated by Nell Dale and John Lewis to study about Computer Science and the information found in this post. Some of the information also comes from CompTIA A+ Certification book by Mike Myers. You may pick up a copy of these books on Amazon if you want to learn more about Computer Science in full detail.




April 26, 2016