Software… What it is?
Computers needs to work a series of instructions that we previously defined as programs, which could be their own system (hosted in the ROM memory), or the entered by the user (housed in RAM). All of these programs that define the logical operation of the system are known as SOFTWARE, and that tries to express the non tangible part of the system.
Computers, contrary to what many may think, and except in Artificial Intelligence applications, are unable to act on their own. Its way to solve problems or make decisions is only a reflection of the criterion having the person who prepares the programs that the computer is running. These programs are known as user programs, and are nothing more than instruction sets introduced the computer to run in an orderly fashion and in perfect sequence.
Data or job information are all that information generated by the user (or the program) that is used to perform the calculations or logical analysis.
Programs of the system are those who are responsible for coordinating the operation of the computer and are defined by the manufacturer through wired instructions, and hence permanent.
The ROM is the resident memory to accommodate the ongoing programmes of the system and are cannot be altered (usually) or deleted, although the computer is de-energized. These programs are so called firmware that is a software indelible hosted on the ROM.
The RAM is an area of memory for general use of the user where the information, be it data or programs, may be stored or retrieved when required. Originally, all memories were a volatile type, which meant that the contents of the RAM memory was lost whenever we de-energize the computer.
The emergence of the so-called non-volatile or permanent memories once again revolutionized the world of personal computers. Of course, also involved which might appear in portable computing devices, as well as more diverse media storage and digital information management.
Normally, the memory can be displayed as a group of boxes (also called locations), numbered 0 onwards. Number of location is known as “address” and has as a main characteristic being unique, and always the same, inside each computer. Each memory location stored a “word” which in turn is divided into BITS.
A BIT is defined as the basic unit of binary information, and can have only values 0 and 1. Its name is derived from the resulting contraction of thewords “BInary digiT”.
The number of bits that make up a “word” is based on the architecture of the microprocessor and although initially the standard was 8 bits. No much later, capabilities were growing at 16, 32, 64 bits, reaching nowadays sizes of up to 256 bits. For our discussion we will use a size of 8 bits receiving the name of “BYTE”.
Other term which we believe should clarify, are the widely used symbols “K”, “M”, “G” and “T” when referring to memory capabilities. These quantitative representations of the memory of a computer, are nothing more than the result of a partnership with the prefix “Kilo”, “Mega”, “Giga” and “Tera” of the metric system, used to represent groups of 1,000, 1,000,000 1,000,000,000 and 1,000,000,000,000 units.
In the event that we are using for the explanation, the prefix “Kilo” used in the term kilobyte, does not mean exactly 1000 bytes but 1024. This issue, as we will see later, is the result of raising the number 2 to the tenth power (2¹º). This means, that when we refer to the memory capacity of a computer using the term 16K, what we want to say is that this computer is able to store 16,384 “words” of eight Bits each, or what is the same, 16,384 bytes.