Computing
Computers
Data in the Machine
Access 2 Excel 4 Word

When we think of computers we think of how we use them: games, internet, music, washing clothes, television, driving, ... Wait a minute, what has washing clothes to do with computers?

Washing clothes: using a washing machine.

We load the clothes, put in cleaner, press a button and some time later the clothes have been washed. We are thinking now that, OK, there must be a computer inside the washing machine - and OK, it must have some way of controlling the different cycles to get the clothes washed. After all the machine loads water, heats it up to the right temperature, turns on a motor that drives the cylinder, gets it to change direction, controls the speed.

Yes, it must be fairly complicated and clever. It doesn't use much in the way of data though - not like facebook or google.

Data consists of binary values, held in place (or in sequence) by physical electronic devices (very small transistors). There are a lot of these in a washing machine and even more around the world. Somehow we have to get access to this data (information) and make sense of it.

The washing machine is programmed to use the data (some of this is instructions on what to do and when, some of it is current information like water temperature).


 
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