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Machine Level Architecture

Processor Responsible for executing programmes and supervising the functioning of other parts of the system
Main Memory Also known as the immediate access store (IAS), is a store for programme instructions and data
RAM Random access memory is used for memory that is readable and writable – it is volatile and data is forgotten when the power is turned off
ROM Read-only memory is used to hold fixed programmes – it is not volatile and does not forget data is not forgotten when the power is turned off
EEPROM Electrically erasable programmable read-only memory does allow the contents to be altered – it is often found in SIM-cards, MP3 players and memory sticks
Bus Acts as a connecting tube between three components that can transmit a single binary word or an address between the processor and the store or I/O component
Data Bus A bidirectional bus, typically consisting of 32 wires, used to transport data between the three components of the three box model
Address Bus A unidirectional bus, typically consisting of 32 wires, used to address memory and I/O locations
Control Bus A bidirectional bus, typically consisting of 8 wires, used to transport control signals between the three components of the three-box model
I/O Device a hardware unit that sends or receives data or stores data by communicating with the processor and main memory through an I/O controller
I/O Controller An electronic circuit that connects to a system bus and an I/O device; it provides correct voltages and currents for the system bus and the I/O device
Peripherals A computer device that is not part of the CPU – it can be external, mouse, or internal, CD-ROM drive
CPU Central processor unit – processor and main memory
Secondary Storage Permanent storage memory that is not directly connected to the processor
Addressable Memory Each memory location has a main memory address – a unique numeric code that can be used to retrieve data stored at that location
Stored Program Concept 1)A program must be resident in main memory to be executed 2)Machine code instructions are fetched, one after another, from main memory in sequence and are executed, one at a time, in the processor
Microcontroller A complete computer (processor, memory and I/O) on a single chip
Program Control Unit Fetches program instructions from memory, decodes them and excutes them one at a time
Arithmetic and Logic Unit (ALU) Performs arithmetic and logical operations on data such as addition and subtraction; fixed-point arithmetic; Boolean logic such as AND, OR, XOR; and a range of shift operations
Registers Fast memory locations inside the processor (or an I/O controller) that may be dedicated or general-purpose
Internal Clock Derived directly or indirectly from the system clock
Internal Bus Several internal buses link the control unit, the ALU and the registers
Logic Gates used for flow control.
System Clock Regulate the rate at which instructions are executed and to synchronise the operation of various computer components
General-Purpose Register A register not assigned a specific role by the processor designer – programmers may use general-purpose registers
Dedicated Register A register assigned a specific role by the processor designer – programmers may use some but not all dedicated registers
Stack Pointer points to a stack holding return addresses, procedure or function parameters, and local variables; it is accessed when a procedure or function is called or an interrupt is serviced
Program Counter Points to the next instruction to be fetched and executed
Status Register Holds condition codes to indicate the outcome of operations
Accumulator Holds the result of the current set of calculations.
Current Instruction Register (CIR) Holds the current instruction to be executed while it is decoded and executed
Memory Address Register (MAR) Holds the address of the memory location currently being accessed by the processor
Memory Buffer Register (MBR) Holds the data item being transferred to or from the memory location currently being accessed by the processor
Clock Speed Of a processor, the frequency in megahertz or gigahertz at which the processor executes instructions
Word Length The number of digits in a binary word
Bus Width The number of signal wires or lines allocated to the bus
Machine Code Instruction A binary code that a machine can understand and execute
Compile High-Level Language Program A program translated into machine code before it is executed on a digital computer
Op-Code The part of a machine code instruction that denotes the basic machine operation
Operand The part of a machine code instruction that represents a single item of binary data or the address of a single item of binary data
Instruction Set The set of bit patterns or binary codes for the machine operations that a processor has been designed to perform
Created by: hcottrell