Unit 6: How Computers Work

Lab 1: Computer Abstraction Hierarchy

6.1.1: analog vs. digital  

Digital and analog are opposites. Digital means information that is represented as ones and zeros. Analog means information that is represented by signals that vary continuously (that is, including in-between values).

6.1.4: Software Libraries  
AAP-3.D.1, AAP-3.D.2, AAP-3.D.3

Machine language is the lowest-level programming language; it is directly understood by the computer hardware.

Architecture is an abstraction, a specification of the machine language. It also tells how the processor connects to the memory. It doesn't specify the circuitry; the same architecture can be built as circuitry in many different ways.


An integrated circuit ("IC" or "chip") is a single physical device that contains millions or billions of basic electrical parts. A processor is an IC, but not all ICs are processors; there are also special-purpose chips inside a computer.

Lab 2: History of Computers


Moore's Law is the prediction that the number of transistors that fit on one chip doubles every year.