IEEE Computer Volume 16 Number 2 -- BOOK REVIEWS
Original Publication Date: 1983-Feb-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Nov-11
Software Patent Institute
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Introduction to Computer Organization
-- Ivan Tomek (Computer Science Press, Rockville, Md., 1981, 456 pp., $21.95)
Too often, computer science students have a limited understanding of computer hardware, and even programming professionals have little relevant hardware background. Recognizing that the needs of these two groups differ from those of engineers, Ivan Tomek has written a timely and significant contribution to the academic arena. Introduction to Computer Organization covers all the topics recommended in CS4, the 1978 ACM curriculum proposal bearing the same title as this self-contained textbook. The author has also provided a workbook containing solved problems and examples to augment the main text, a combination that appears ideally suited for a one- or two- semester course on the principles of computer operation. Furthermore, the material is presented in such a cohesive, conversational manner that even a layman could read it profitably.
Roughly half (three chapters) of the book deals with computer architecture. The concepts are introduced, then supported by a wealth of examples, including the Motorola 6800 embedded in the Heathkit ET-3400 microcomputer trainer, the DEC PDP-I I, the Univac 11/60 system, and the CDC 170 series. This section also discusses current technology trends at length, overviewing VLSI, Josephson junctions, and bubble memories to name a few.
The presentation of combinational and sequential circuits, which makes up about one-third (three chapters) of the book's total content, is supported by realistic examples using the 7400 logic family of TTL chips; these real-life examples subtly and very effectively present the digital designer's perspective. For the third major focus, two chapters are devoted to number representations and coding. Additional topics presented that are not part of CS4 are reliable design, fault analysis, and testing. Also of significance is a chapter on hardware simulation that introduces circuit design and analysis from a programming perspective, thus relating hardware d...