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Re: Machines and people

On Sun, Dec 04, 2005 at 01:32:28PM +0000, Paddy Hackett wrote:
> I am new to this list. Among my chief reasons for an interest in Linux
> is in relation to AI and the relationship of human intelligence to
> machines such as computers.Consequently I want to establish a clear
> understanding as to how the computers works.
> In view of this could anybody tell me how we get from the stage of bits
> to the letters of say the English language. In short how do bits,
> Boolean Algebra lead to letters such as a,b,c,..etc.


The first major encoding system was ASCII, which represented each letter
as a byte. A byte is 8 bits, and can represent 256 different numbers.
Wikipedia has more at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ASCII

There are other encoding systems out there, unicode being one of the big

> I have studied the Turing machine. 

The turing machine, as I am sure you are aware, is a theoretical
machine. While a computer can do nearly[1] everything a turing machine
can do, it is not a turing machine and doesn't work in the same way.
However, with the catch that computers don't have infinate amounts of
memory, all the the computability theory proofs hold. You should only
really study the Turing machine if you want to study the theoretical
limits of computation, rather than how computers work. That being said,
computability theory is a interesting field. 

>However I am still not clear
> regarding this question. It appears that many learn higher level
> computer languages such as Java yet cannot answer the more fundamental
> cquestions.

If your fundamental quiestion is "how are letters in english represented in 
a computer?" I hope I have pointed you in the right direction. If your
question is "How do computers work?" then it can't really be explained
in an email. In fact, it can't really be explained in a book. 


> Paddy Hackett
> -- 
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[1] A turing machine requires a infinate amount of memory, I real
computer doesn't have an infinate amount of memory

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