Introduction to Computer Science
This has been an introductory hodge-podge chapter. It is awkward to jump straight into computer science without any type of introduction. Students arrive at a first computer science course with a wide variety of technology backgrounds. Some students know a little keyboarding and Internet access along with basic word processing skills taught in earlier grades. Other students come to computer science with a sophisticated degree of knowledge that can include a thorough understanding of operating systems and frequently knowledge of one or more program languages as well.
The secret of computer information storage and calculation is the binary system. Information is stored in a computer with combinations of base-2 ones and zeroes. Individual binary digits (bits) store a one or a zero. A one means true and a zero means false. A set of eight bits forms one byte.
A byte can store one character in memory with ASCII, which allows 256 different characters. The newer, international Unicode stores one character in two bytes for a total of 65536 different characters.
Neither this chapter nor this book explained any details about the operating system. Operating systems change frequently, or at least operating system versions change to a new-and-improved model about every two or three years. A solid knowledge of your computer's operating system is vital. Writing a computer program requires knowledge of editing text, saving and loading files and moving around the hard drive's directory system efficiently.
If your basic computer knowledge is weak, make sure to pick up additional information from your teacher, library or bookstore. Technology is evolving and students arrive in computer science classes with increased sophistication. In this course no prior knowledge whatsoever about any programming language or programming logic is assumed. However, a fundamental knowledge of basic computer operations is essential.