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Computer memory

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The computer memory is a temporary storage area. It holds the data and instructions that the Central Processing Unit (CPU) needs. Before a program can be run, the program is loaded from some storage medium into the memory. This allows the CPU direct access to the program. Memory is a need for any computer.

A computer is usually an electrical device, which understands only electricity on and electricity off. This is expressed by using two symbols – 0 and 1 – which are called binary digits or bits. Numbers and text characters are represented as codes, which are made up of combinations of 0s and 1s. Simple character codes are called ASCII (the American Standard Code for Information Interchange), and Unicode. In ASCII, eight bits – any combination of 0s and 1s – form one character or symbol. For example, the letter A is denoted by the code 01000001. The basic working unit of the computer's memory is a group of eight bits, which is called a byte.

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