E08:  How Do Computers Work?
Spring 2013

M W F 9:30-10:20, Hicks 212

Instructor:
Tali Moreshet
Office: Hicks 218, x8331


Office Hours:
Tues. 2-4pm, open door policy


Course Description:

This course combines technical basics of digital systems and computer organization with non-technical topics, including the history of computers and great inventions in computing. You will be learning how computers work, what are the components that make up a computer, how data is stored and represented inside a computer, and how we can make computers do what we want them to do. If there is anything you would like to know about computers, we may be able to incorporate it into the course as well.

syllabus



Readings:

Tentative Class Schedule

NOTE: Some of the links on this page are not accessible from outside Swarthmore.

Week Dates Topics Readings & Handouts Labs & HW
1 Jan 21-Jan 25
  • What's in a computer?
  • History of computers
 
2 Jan 28-Feb 1
  • History of computers - cont
  • How information is represented
  • History of computers in education (Nimesh presenting)
Homework 1
3 Feb 4-Feb 8
  • Inside the CPU
  • Logic gates
Lab 1
The Logg-O Simulator
4 Feb 11-Feb 15
  • How information is stored
  • Alan Turing (Sara presenting)
Homework 2
5 Feb 18-Feb 22
  • How can we tell computers what we want
  • Machine language
  • Computer ethics in the movies (Christina presenting)
Lab 2
The Knob and Switch Computer
6 Feb 25-March 1
  • Mac vs. PC
  • Mac vs. PC Marketing Tactics (Ashley B. presenting) - cancelled
Homework 3
7 March 4-March 8
  • File systems
  • EXAM : Wed. 3/6, in class
  • Computer Science Illuminated - Chapter 11
Lab 3
Linux shell commands
Spring Break
8 March 18-March 22
  • How computers communicate
  • What makes the Internet work
  • Computing at Swarthmore (Ashley M. presenting)
Homework 4
9 March 25-March 29
  • What makes the Internet work - cont
  • "Field trip" to ITS
  • Google and the History of Web Search Engines (Colin presenting)
Homework 5
10 April 1-April 5
  • Risks and defenses
  • Creating a webpage
  • Social Aspects of the Internet and its Implications (Mireille presenting)
Lab 4 - Pre-lab
Lab 4
Sample webpage
swartlogo.jpg
11 April 8-April 12
  • Risks and defenses - cont
  • Compression
  • Mac vs. PC Marketing Tactics (Ashley B. presenting)
Webpage term paper
12 April 15-April 19
  • Correcting errors
  • Wireless and cellphones
  • Cellphones and their Impact on Society (Uriel presenting)
Homework 6
13 April 22-April 26
  • Wireless and cellphones - cont
  • Cloud Computing (Erik presenting)
 
14 April 29-May 3
  • How are computers made
  • The future of computing
  • Review
 
  FINAL EXAM: 5/13 9am