We’ve covered certain aspects of computing at a conceptual level; now let’s change direction and take a look at the physical foundations of computing. Let’s begin by reviewing our definition of a computer. A computer is an electronic device that can be programmed to carry out a set of logical instructions.

Computers are devices that follow rules designed by humans, but ultimately computers must behave according to another set of rules: the laws of nature. A computer is just a machine, and like all machines, it takes advantage of natural laws to accomplish a task. In particular, modern computers are electronic devices, so ...

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