2+2 : Basis of Computer Technology? - Techist - Tech Forum

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Old 05-05-2010, 08:35 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 2+2 : Basis of Computer Technology?

Since it would seem (fairly obviously) that the basis of modern computer technology is math, I'm going to ask a simple question that probably has a fairly complicated answer...

"What does a computer do in order to find the value of 2+2?"

In other words, what phenomena are harnessed so that a computer can complete any valid mathematical operation? What happens between the time that appropriate energy enters the computer and the time that "4" appears on the screen as a specific arrangement of pixels?

Again, I'm sure this is pretty complicated. But if you've got the knowledge, feel free to be as detailed as you can. I (and hopefully plenty of others) would find it very interesting.
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Old 05-05-2010, 08:56 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: 2+2 : Basis of Computer Technology?

You're right in that the answer is quite complicated.

What you're looking to understand is ALUs and FPUs, which form the basis of pretty much every processor designed. They're made up of smaller circuits, which in turn are comprised of logic gates.
The pic below is of an 'adder' which is part of what an ALU is made up of.


I'd suggest reading up here, unless you understand the basics of binary logic and simple electronics though, it's not going to make much sense I'm afraid
Arithmetic logic unit - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 05-06-2010, 08:58 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: 2+2 : Basis of Computer Technology?

Interesting. Thanks for the reply; I hope to look into it.

Other responses are welcome, as well!
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