Introduction to Computer Organization

Introduction to Computer Organization

A Guide to x86-64 Assembly Language and GNU/Linux
by Bob Plantz
November 2021, 502 pp.

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Introduction to Computer Organization gives programmers a practical understanding of what happens in a computer when you execute your code. You may never have to write x86-64 assembly language or design hardware yourself, but knowing how the hardware and software works will give you greater control and confidence over your coding decisions. We start with high level fundamental concepts like memory organization, binary logic, and data types and then explore how they are implemented at the assembly language level.

The goal isn’t to make you an assembly programmer, but to help you comprehend what happens behind the scenes between running your program and seeing “Hello World” displayed on the screen. Classroom-tested for over a decade, this book will demystify topics like:

  • How to translate a high-level language code into assembly language
  • How the operating system manages hardware resources with exceptions and interrupts
  • How data is encoded in memory
  • How hardware switches handle decimal data
  • How program code gets transformed into machine code the computer understands
  • How pieces of hardware like the CPU, input/output, and memory interact to make the entire system work.
Author Bio 

Bob Plantz was a professor at Sonoma State for 21 years, teaching a variety of core computing classes. He started his career designing electronics for the horizon scanners on the Gemini spacecraft and Apollo Lunar Module. After that, he got his PhD in electrical engineering at UC Berkeley, and went on to work as a software engineer for eight years before becoming an educator.