Little Known Works of Famous Authors

                         Chapter Five

                 Information Systems Software

                                                John R. Taylor



1.   Why do we need software to use computers?


Software is the set of instructions that tell the computer what to do.  Without a software program a computer is only a collection of electronic hardware.


2.   What are the major types of software?  How can they be      distinguished?


The two major types of software are operating system software and application software.  System software tells the different components of hardware what to do, and translates instructions between the application software and the user.  System software programs are generalized programs that manage computer resources.  Application software programs are designed to solve a specific problem.


3.   What are the major software generations?  When were they developed?  Describe the characteristics of each generation.


The first generation of software was machine language.  In the 1940's it was the only way to communicate with computers.  It was not a very good system because writing strings of binary code was slow and laborious, yet required highly trained specialist.  In the early  1950's the second generation of software, assembly language was introduced.  It was a big improvement because programers could write in language-like words such as "add, sub," and "load" then a program called an "assembler" would translate the instruction into machine language.  Later in the 50's third generation software came along.  These High-level languages used statements were much like english, at lest relatively so.  BASIC is a high-level language.  Third generation software is still in wide use today.  Forth generation software was introduced in the late 1970's and consisted of query software, report generators, graphics software, application generators, and other tools that greatly reduced programing time and made it possible for non-programers to create their own application. 


4.   Define an operating system.  What function does it perform?


An operating system controls the activities of the computer.  It allocates and assigns system resources, schedules the use of resources and computer jobs, and monitors computer system activities.


5.   How do a compiler, an assembler, and an interpreter differ?


An assembler translates assembly language into machine language.  A Compiler translates an entire high-level language program into machine language.  An interpreter translates a high-level language program into machine code one statement at a time.

Home | uCan | Southern Storage Solutions | | |  Copyright 1992 - 2013 John R. Taylor