The information in this section is intended to demystify computers for you. As computer power increases—with abilities like speech and facial recognition and championship chess playing—the tendency is to regard a computer as basically incomprehensible. Since the fundamental logical structure behind the operation of a computer is quite simple, I believe such understanding should be part of a student’s knowledge base. It’s not that hard, and you may find it interesting. And the knowledge may help you to figure out why things go wrong sometime when you are using a computer to work on a GIS project.
A refresher: All the operations of a computer are based on the concept that combinations of binary states can represent information. Binary states can be: on or off; A or B; tied or untied; yes or no; exists or does not exist. Customarily, we represent those two states by BInary digiTS (BITS). With these a computer does three things:
That’s it! Everything else is simply elaboration on this basic theme.
Why binary states? Because, in the physical world, it is easier ...