How Computers Work


In this video, Michael Pound asks what it is that computers actually do. They read instructions, use maths and logic, and then store and use numbers! Every time you use a computer, no matter what complex application or game you're running, it's still built up of these tiny simple instructions.

Once we've looked at how this works, we have a go at running a simple program using two instructions. Once you've watched the video, maybe you can try writing and running your own programs!

Talking points:
  • All applications, from internet browsers, to word processors and games use instructions just like these.
  • Modern computer processors are very fast - often thousands or even hundreds of thousands of instructions per second!
  • Just like how we can break everyday tasks into small steps, can you imagine that we could combine many small instructions to get something much more complicated?
  • Do you think it's possible for computers to do something beyond or different from what is in their program? To not do what they're told?
  • In real memory we use numbered addresses, a bit like house numbers, instead of coloured circles.

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