Hardware can be daunting. The following is a brief look at why every computer science major should be knowledgeable in the acronyms that abound within the computer industry.
Budding computer science majors can be thankful to Ken Thompson’s desire to travel space. It was this desire that maintained a failed attempt of an operating system by a joint venture of General Electric, Bell Labs, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The operating system was named Multics and was abandoned in the late sixties, yet Ken Thompson had programmed a game he named Space Travel for Multics and it still needed an operating system on which to run. As they did not have the resources they had to run Multics at the house, Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie worked together to produce what we know today as UNIX (Ritchie, 1984), yet UNIX now needed a platform upon which to run and yet again, another savior to computer science that we can be thankful for today, IBM mass-produced personal computers for use in the common household. Yet, thankfully, IBM failed at dominating the personal computer market and clones became yet another savior.
Personal computers and their clones are comprised of standard, interchangeable components. Components such as Random Access Memory (RAM), Read Only Memory (ROM), Central Processing Unit (CPU), Hard Disk Drive (HDD), Compact Disc or Digital Versatile Disc Read Only Memory often referred to as CD-ROM or DVD-ROM, motherboards, Graphic Processing Unit (formerly known as video cards and now referred to as GPU), and the like are the norm for any typical computer whether they are of the desktop or laptop varieties. Form factors must also be taken into account terms such as XT, AT, ATX, mi...
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...oring becomes a factor, shopping for RAM that interfaces with the Front Side Bus (FSB) at 800 MHZ or 1066MHZ becomes a factor, choosing CPU’s that are either dual-core or quad-core becomes a factor. Factors, there are many of them; one way to combat this is to educate and familiarize oneself with the acronyms and terms associated within the computing industry. If not properly armed, the factors can be overwhelming to any computer science major.
Krynin, M. (2010) UEFI – unified extensible firmware interface. Retrieved: December 9, 2010 from: http://compreviews.about.com/od/motherboards/a/UEFI.htm
N.A. (2010) Desktop form factors. Retrieved: December 9, 2010 from: http://www.formfactors.org/searchproducts.asp
Ritchie, D. (1984) Early unix history and evolution. Retrieved: December 8, 2010 from: http://cm.bell-labs.com/cm/cs/who/dmr/hist.html
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