Von Neumann Architecture
Unfortunately, with all the computers that we’ve talked about so far, they don’t really look like the computers that we have today, right? These machines took up entire, literally entire rooms and weighed tons and had millions upon millions of different individual parts. And so how did we get from a giant computer that takes up our room to a computer that fits on your wrist? And so the last piece of that puzzle comes to us from John Von Neumann, and some call him the last of the great mathematicians. And his accomplishments are truly outstanding, although you may hear some feedback against calling him the last of the great mathematician. But where does Von Neumann actually come into play with computer science history?
Well Von Nueman is credited for the Von Neumann architecture. And now really the Von Neumann architecture really sets the stage for modern computing of the way our current computers right now are structured overall. So the Von Neumann architecture contains a few primary parts here, we have the control unit, which is responsible for following and sorting instructions, the arithmetic logic unit, which handles all the calculations, we also have a device that is used for storing memory. And we also have some possible way of inputting and outputting content, right. So we can input whether whatever it may be, that could be a keyboard, that could be a program that we give the computer and we also have some form of output, whether it be a screen, a video, whatever it actually may be. So we think a little bit farther back when we talked about what a computer should be able to do, right? A computer should be able to store stuff It should be able to calculate things, it should be able to be programmable, right, we should be able to accept variable input, and we should be able to output, right. And this pretty much accomplishes all of those things.
And really, nothing has changed since the 1940s, when the Von Neumann architecture was designed and published. Now, I’m personally actually really interested to see how computing continues to evolve. And when we talk about hardware, you may see a few things about you know how some of this has changed a little bit. But the core idea of how our computing devices are now even modern day desktops, laptops and things like that are pretty much the same. There are some minor tweaks and reformulations of this idea, but nothing has drastically changed since then. So really, it’s going to be interesting to see what the future holds. With the structure of competing, right, are we going to, you know, what’s DNA computing going to do? Is that going to change the structure of our bond? Is that going to change or break the Von Neumann architecture? Are we going to gravitate to something completely entirely different? I’m not sure but it’ll be really exciting to see what happens in the next few years.