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Computer System Structure,

Organization and Operation

Computer System Organization
• Computer-system operation
• One or more CPUs, device controllers connect through common bus providing
access to shared memory
• Concurrent execution of CPUs and devices competing for memory cycles
Computer System Operation
• I/O devices and the CPU can execute concurrently
• Each device controller is in charge of a particular device type
• Each device controller has a local buffer
• CPU moves data from/to main memory to/from local buffers
• I/O is from the device to local buffer of controller
• Device controller informs CPU that it has finished its operation by
causing an interrupt
I/O Structure
• After I/O starts, control returns to user program only upon I/O completion
• Wait instruction idles the CPU until the next interrupt
• Wait loop (contention for memory access)
• At most one I/O request is outstanding at a time, no simultaneous I/O processing
• After I/O starts, control returns to user program without waiting for I/O
• System call – request to the OS to allow user to wait for I/O completion
• Device-status table contains entry for each I/O device indicating its type, address,
and state
• OS indexes into I/O device table to determine device status and to modify table entry
to include interrupt
Storage Structure
• Main memory – only large storage media that the CPU can access directly
• Random access
• Typically volatile

• Secondary storage – extension of main memory that provides large

nonvolatile storage capacity
• Hard disks – rigid metal or glass platters covered with magnetic recording
• Disk surface is logically divided into tracks, which are subdivided into sectors
• The disk controller determines the logical interaction between the device and the computer

• Solid-state disks – faster than hard disks, nonvolatile

• Various technologies
• Becoming more popular
Storage Hierarchy
• Storage systems organized in hierarchy
• Speed
• Cost
• Volatility
• Caching – copying information into faster storage system; main
memory can be viewed as a cache for secondary storage
• Device Driver for each device controller to manage I/O
• Provides uniform interface between controller and kernel
Storage-Device Hierarchy
• Registers - A processor register (CPU register) is one of a small set of
data holding places that are part of the computer processor.
A register may hold an instruction, a storage address, or
any kind of data (such as a bit sequence or individual characters). Some
instructions specify registers as part of the instruction.

• Cache Memory - Pronounced cash, a special high-speed storage

mechanism. Cache can be either a reserved section of main memory
or an independent high-speed storage device.

• Main Memory- Refers to physical memory that is internal to the

computer. The word main is used to distinguish it from external mass
storage devices such as disk drives. Another term for main memory is
• Solid State Drive - Abbreviated SSD, a solid state drive is a high-
performance plug-and-play storage device that contains no moving parts.
SSD components include either DRAM or EEPROM memory boards, a
memory bus board, a CPU, and a battery card.
Because they contain their own CPUs to manage data storage,
they are a lot faster (18MBps for SCSI-II and 35 MBps for UltraWide SCSI
interfaces) than conventional rotating hard disks ; therefore, they produce
highest possible I/O rates.

• Hard Disk Drive - Stands for "Hard Disk Drive." "HDD" is often used
interchangeably with the terms "hard drive" and "hard disk." However, the
term "hard disk drive" is technically the most accurate, since "hard drive" is
short for "hard disk drive" and the "hard disk" is actually contained within
the hard disk drive.
The HDD is the most common storage device used to store
data. HDDs are non-volatile, meaning they do not need electrical power to
maintain their data.
• Optical Disk Drive - In the real world, "optical" refers to vision, or the
ability to see. In the computer world, however, "optical" refers to
lasers, which can "see" and read data on optical discs. These discs
include CDs and DVDs, which are made up of millions of small bumps
and dips. Optical drives have lasers that read these bumps and dips as
ones and zeros, which the computer can understand.

• Magnetic Tapes - memory device consisting of a long thin plastic strip

coated with iron oxide; used to record audio or video signals or to
store computer information