Chapter 1

Computer Systems

The fundamental question of computer science is: What can be automated? Just as the machines developed during the Industrial Revolution automated manual labor, computers automate the processing of information. When electronic computers were developed in the 1940s, their designers built them to automate the solution of mathematical problems. Since then, however, computers have been applied to problems as diverse as financial accounting, airline reservations, word processing, and graphics. The spread of computers is so relentless that new areas of computer automation appear almost daily.

The purpose of this book is to show how the computer automates the processing of information. ...

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