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Learning Computer Architecture with Raspberry Pi by Ben Everard, Tim Mamtora, Ralph Roberts, Jeffrey Duntemann, Eben Upton

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Chapter 1

The Shape of a Computer Phenomenon

THAT OLD SAYING about good things coming in small packages describes the Raspberry Pi perfectly. It also highlights an advance in computer architecture—the system-on-a-chip (SoC), a tiny package with a rather large collection of ready-to-use features. The SoC isn’t so new—it’s been around a long time—but the Raspberry Pi’s designers have put it into a small, powerful package that is readily available to students and adults alike. All for a very low price.

A tiny piece of electronics about the size of a credit card, the Raspberry Pi single-board computer packs very respectable computing power into a small space. It provides tons of fun and many, many possibilities for building and controlling all sorts of fascinating gizmos. When something is small, after all, it fits just about anywhere. The Raspberry Pi does things conventional computers just can’t do in terms of both portability and connectivity. Things you will find inspire your creativity—fun things!

What’s not to like? Get ready for some truly exciting computer architecture.

In this chapter introducing the truly phenomenal Raspberry Pi line of computer boards, we look first at the Raspberry Pi’s goals and history. We include the history of the Raspberry Pi’s development and the visionary people at the Raspberry Pi Foundation who dreamed up the concept and achieved the reality, and we look at the advantages this tiny one-board computer has over much larger computers. We then take ...

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