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Notes > Foundations of Computing > Von Neumann Architecture

John Von Neumann was a Hungarian Mathematician (1903-1957) who conceived the computer architecture that most modern computer systems are based on today. The Von Neumann architecture consists of Inputs, Outputs, a CPU, and memory. The CPU consists of a Control Unit and Arithmetic-Logic Unit (ALU).

The Control Unit is responsible for performing the Machine Cycle. The combined actions of the Control Unit and ALU enable the CPU to receive instructions to be executed and manipulate data and store the results to memory.

Memory can be in the form of Read Only Memory (ROM), Random Access Memory (RAM) or external memory such as a Hard Disk or CD-Rom. Inputs may consist of a keyboard, mouse, joystick, or microphone. Outputs may be a Visual Display Unit (VDU), speaker, printer, or storage device.

Software can be broken down into two categories. System Software controls programs such as the OS and any DBMS that may be used. Application Software is any program that performs a specific task. A certain piece of application software may process data for a user in order to complete inventory or payroll tasks for example.

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