CS101 - Introduction to Computing - Lecture Handout 01

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Charles Babbage (1791-1871)

Creator of the Analytical Engine - the first general-purpose digital computer (1833)
The Analytical Engine was not built until 1943 (in the form of the Harvard Mark I)

The Analytical Engine

A programmable, mechanical, digital machine
Could carryout any calculation
Could make decisions based upon the results of the previous calculation
Components: input; memory; processor; output

Ada, Countess of Lovelace(1815-52)

Babbage: the father of computing
Ada: the mother?
Wrote a program for computing the Bernoulli’s sequence on the Analytical Engine - world’s 1st computer program
Ada: A programming language specifically designed by the US Dept of Defense for developing military applications was named Ada to honor her contributions towards computing

A lesson that we all can learn from Babbage’s Life

Charles Babbage had huge difficulties raising money to fund his research
As a last resort, he designed a clever mathematical scheme along with Ada, the Countess of Lovelace
It was designed to increase their odds while gambling. They bet money on horse races to raise enough money to support their research experiments
Guess what happened at the end? The lost every penny that they had.
Here is a fact:

Deep Blue

In 1997 Deep Blue, a supercomputer designed by IBM, beat Gary Kasparov, the World Chess Champion That computer was exceptionally fast, did not get tired or bored. It just kept on analyzing the situation and kept on searching until it found the perfect move from its list of possible moves …

Goals for Today:

To develop an appreciation about the capabilities of computing
To find about the structure & policies of this course

CS101 Introduction to Computing

Course Contents & Structure

Course Objectives

To build an appreciation for the fundamental concepts in computing
To achieve a beginners proficiency in Web page development
To become familiar with popular PC productivity software

Introduction to Computing

Fundamental concepts

Fundamental concepts

Web page development

Web page development

Productivity Applications

Word processor
Presentation software


Altaf Khan
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Course Web Page:



UC - Understanding Computers (2000 ed.)
JS - Learn JavaScript in a Weekend

Reading Assignments

Please make sure to read the assigned material for each week before the commencement of the corresponding week

Reading that material beforehand will help you greatly in absorbing with ease the matter discussed during the lecture
Check your e-mail often for announcements related to this and other VU courses

distribution …

Assignments (15%)

Almost one every week, 13 in all
No credit for late submissions
The lowest 2 assignment grades will be dropped

Midterm Exam (35%)

During the 8th week
Duration: One hour
Will cover all material covered during the first seven weeks

Final Exam (50%)

During the 16th week
Will cover the whole of the course with a slight emphasis on the material covered after the midterm exam
Duration: 2 hours

First Assignment

Send an email message to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the subject “Assignment 1” giving me some information (in around 50 words) about what you see yourself doing ten years from now
Go to the CS101 message board and post a message (consisting of approx. 50 words) about how we could make the contents of this course more suitable for your individual needs. The subject for this message should be “Assignment 1”
Consult the CS101 syllabus for the submission deadline

A suggestion about unfamiliar terms

We try not to use any new terms without explaining them first
However, it is not possible to do that all the time
If you encounter any unfamiliar terms during the lectures, please note them down and consult the GLOSSARY provided at the end of the “Understanding Computers” text book for their meaning

Let’s summarize the things that we have covered today?

A few things about:
the very first digital computer & its inventor
the capability of modern computers
the structure and contents of CS101

few things

In the Next Lecture …

We’ll continue the story of the evolution of digital computers form the Analytical Engine onwards.
We’ll discuss many of the key inventions and developments that he lead to the shape of the current field of computing.