COMPONENTS OF A DIGITAL COMPUTER:
A digital computer is an electronic device that receives data, performs arithmetic and logical operations and produces results according to a predetermined program. It receives data through an input device (usually keyboard) and displays the results to some output device (usually monitor). All data processing in a digital computer is done by a central processing unit, also known as processor. A working memory is used to store data and instructions. Figure presents a block diagram of a digital computer identifying the key components and their interconnection.
The key elements of a digital computer, as elaborated in the block diagram given in Figure include: Central Processing Unit, Input, Output and Memory. The Central Processing Unit (CPU) is like the brain of the computer. It is responsible for executing instructions. It controls and coordinates the execution of instructions. It is comprised of a Control Unit (CU), an Arithmetic & Logic Unit (ALU) and registers. The CU controls the execution of instructions by decoding the instruction and generating micro-operations to be performed for executing that instruction. The ALU is responsible for performing arithmetic and logic operations. Execution of an instruction involves almost all parts (CU, ALU & Registers) of the CPU. Hence, CPU is known as the most vital component of a computer system.