In this chapter some necessary tools and background ideas are reviewed.

The Fetch-Execute Cycle

One of the earliest electronic computers was the ENIAC. When it was first built it could not store programs. Each new computation required moving plugs and jumper cables. Now, however, nearly all computers store programs. For these computers, doing a computation means running a program. The place where the program is stored is called memory. The part of the machine which does the computation is called the processor. Computer programs generally take the form of a list of instructions. Computation is performed by the processor using the fetch-execute cycle. The fetch-execute cycle consists of a repeated process that includes these ...

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