1. A digital computer is a machine capable of performing operations on data represented in digital or number form. The individual operations performed by a digital computer are very simple arithmetic or logical processes involving the manipula­tion of the bits in words or characters of information. The great power of any digital DIGITAL COMPUTER OPERATION computer rests in the ability to store large volumes of data and to perform these operations at extremely high speed.

In most electronic digital computers the method of number representation is based on the system of binary notation. The binary notation system is most widely used DIGITAL COMPUTER OPERATION because of the con­venience in constructing logical circuits and storage devices ca­pable of handling data in this form. For example, a magnetic memory unit consists of many thousand individual magnetic cells, each of which can be energized in either of two ways to represent the binary digits DIGITAL COMPUTER OPERATION 0 or 1. If these cells are grouped to form words or binary coded characters, information can be

Британский язык. Базы компьютерной грамотности 94

stored for processing in units of specified size. In the same way, digital data can be recorded as a series of magnetized spots on a magnetic tape or a DIGITAL COMPUTER OPERATION magnetic disk.

2. The computer has pervaded most fields of human activity and is the most important innovation of our age. Born out of the technology of communication, it is capable of handling enormous amounts of information at tremendous speeds. What makes it so potent is the fact that a single DIGITAL COMPUTER OPERATION mechanism can per­form any information-processing task. The same mechanism can control industrial processes, guide space vehicles or help to teach children. This diversity of tasks is мейд possible by the simple idea of the stored program.

A program is the enumeration of determining commands. It specifies the method DIGITAL COMPUTER OPERATION used for the solution of a problem in de­tail. When the machine is. in operation, both the commands and the numbers to be processed are constantly being taken out of and put into a depository of information known as a memory.

It can be seen that DIGITAL COMPUTER OPERATION the processes performed by a digital com­puter are essentially simple. These operations can be performed at extremely high speeds and with a high degree of coordina­tion between the different functional units of the hardware sys­tem, and this ability means that digital computers can under­take highly complex tasks.

15. Прочтите DIGITAL COMPUTER OPERATION пристально текст. Составьте на британском языке план текста, выделив главные его темы. План можно составить в вопросной, назывной либо тезисной форме. Познакомьтесь с эталонами планов, представ­ленными после текста; сравните со своим планом.


It is interesting to note that memory, one of the basic com­ponents of the DIGITAL COMPUTER OPERATION computer, is often called storage. It stores cal­culation program, the calculation formulae, initial data, inter­mediate and final results. Therefore, the functions of the computer memory may be classified in the following way. Firstly, the computer memory must store the information transmitted from the input and DIGITAL COMPUTER OPERATION other devices. Secondly, memory should produce the information needed for the computation process to all other devices of the computer.

95 Unit 7. Storage

Generally, memory consists of two main parts called the main, primary or internal, memory and the secondary, or ex­ternal memory. The advantage of the primary memory is an extremely high DIGITAL COMPUTER OPERATION speed. The secondary memory has a compara­tively low speed, but it is capable of storing far greater amount of information than the main memory. The primary storage takes a direct part in the computational process. The second­ary storage provides the information necessary for a DIGITAL COMPUTER OPERATION single step in the sequence of computation steps.

The most important performance characteristics of a stor­age unit are speed, capacity and reliability. Its speed is measured in cycle time. Its capacity is measured by the number of ma­chine words or binary digits. Its reliability is measured by the DIGITAL COMPUTER OPERATION number of failures (отказ) per unit of time.

План в вопросной форме.

1. What is memory?

2. What is the function of memory?

3. What are the main parts of memory?

4. What are advantages and disadvantages of a storage unit?

5. What are their functions?

6. What are performance characteristics of the main and
secondary memory?

7. What DIGITAL COMPUTER OPERATION units are performance characteristics measured by?

План в назывной форме

1. The definition of memory.

2. The main functions of memoiy.

3. Classification of memory.

4. Advantages and disadvantages of memory components.

5. The functions of memory components.

6. Performance characteristics of memory.

7. The units for measuring the performance characteristics
of memory.


1. Memory is one of the basic components of the comput­

2. Memory stores initial data, intermediate and final results.

3. It produces the information needed to other devices of
the computer.

Британский язык. Базы компьютерной грамотности 96

4. Memory consists of the main (internal) and the second­
ary (external) storage.

5. The main memory has DIGITAL COMPUTER OPERATION high speed, but small capacity; the
secondary memory possesses lower speed but greater ca­

6. The main memory performs computation; the secondary
memory provides information sequentially, step by step.

7. The performance characteristics — speed, capacity and
reliability — are measured by cycles, binary digits and the
number of failures per unit of time.