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Introduction To Computing Tutorial - II

By Jide Awe | Contributing Writer

RANDOM ACCESS MEMORY (RAM)

Think of a computer as a human brain. Your brain is a memory sponge. It contains a lifetime of memories that cause us to act or react based on inputs. Inputs come through our 5 senses. If you see and smell hot suya burning on the grill (inputs) you know how to react based on previous experiences (memory - " I HAVE TO EAT O!).

A set of miniaturized circuits which represents the working memory of the computer. This is where application programs (software) can be loaded from the outside and then executed. The larger the RAM the better. A typical single user computer system may contain approximately 8,000,000 bytes of RAM.
(This is often abbreviated as 8MB RAM.)

The computer's brain consists of the RAM and the CPU. The CPU and RAM work together as the computer's "brain". Each day when we start up the computer one of the first tasks will be to fill RAM with instructions to give it an ability to do work. This work may be in the creation of documents or tracking accounting data.

You control which instructions will go into the computer's brain. You control the sets of experiences you will provide the computer. Once in RAM, the computer will evaluate inputs from many devices and react. The most typical input device is a keyboard. As you type commands, the computer evaluates them. Based on the set of instructions within its RAM, it will follow some action: print a document, calculate, send information over a telephone line, etc.

At some later point you may empty the computer's brain and install a different set of instructions, thus giving it a different ability.
The RAM is emptied when the computer is turned off - thus it is often called "volatile" memory. WHAT YOU SEE ON YOUR COMPUTER MONITOR IS ACTUALLY IN RAM ONLY - a temporary storage location. To make it permanent we "save" it or "write" it to a floppy disk or hard drive. These devices are non volatile storage - they do not require electricity.

Each time the computer is turned off, all information within RAM is lost. RAM is called volatile memory because of the electricity requirement.

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About the Author:
Jide Awe is the Managing Director of Jidaw Systems Limited (MASTERCOMPUTERS), an IT Training and Certification provider that focuses on building IT Careers and publishes http://www.jidaw.com , an IT Career portal

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