Computing with Transistors: Circuits

GravitationalCircuit

Here’s the first of a series of posts where Andrew Gibiansky will address the physical principles underlying the abstractions that allow complex modern computers to function using detailed discussions and infographics such as the above to help connect the physical components/EE principles to where they reach over to assembly language and the basis for computer programming:

For many years, I studied computers without ever understanding how they work. On the inside, a computer is a monstrously complex beast, with layers upon layers of abstraction which ultimately boil down to electrons running through silicon, obeying the fundamental laws of physics. We’ve built up so many layers of abstraction that the vast majority of people using computers – even the vast majority of highly technical programmers – don’t know (and don’t need to know!) how it all works on the inside. But while understanding every single layer of abstraction to its fullest extent is practically impossible, it’s incredibly fascinating how modern computers are built and what physical principles allow them to function.

In this series of blog posts, I’d like to introduce you to many of the layers of abstraction bridging the gap between the laws of physics and assembly language.  Given the rather large scope, I’m going to end up leaving out a lot of information about every topic I discuss. Just note that every topic I mention has, essentially, a field and a half solely devoted to it. With that said, let’s begin with circuits.

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As 2022 starts, let’s take some time to share our goals for CircuitPython in 2022. Just like past years (full summary 2019, 2020, and 2021), we’d like everyone in the CircuitPython community to contribute by posting their thoughts to some public place on the Internet. Here are a few ways to post: a video on YouTub, a post on the CircuitPython forum, a blog post on your site, a series of Tweets, a Gist on GitHub. We want to hear from you. When you post, please add #CircuitPython2022 and email circuitpython2022@adafruit.com to let us know about your post so we can blog it up here.

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