General Computing Question

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Sep 29th, 2010
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What component in a computer (hardware or software) actually anlayzes the string of electrical impulses (bits) entering an interface, coalesces them into packets, and then translates them into characters?

I know the ASCII system is used as a mapping, but what component actually does the mapping?


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Nagaraja Thanthry Wed, 09/29/2010 - 18:39
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In the NIC card, you will have an Analog-to-Digital converter that performs this operation.The ADC converts the electrical impulses into digital stream and sends it to the NIC card CPU (or what is called as controller). Then the NIC card driver will put that into a packet format.



ex-engineer Wed, 09/29/2010 - 18:59
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Thank you for your feedback.

It seems that my question is trying to address something deeper than what you are addressing.

Let me reiterate. I am asking how the computer's components have the intelligence to understand and map streams of bits into characters. In other words, how is the computer's electronic circuitry informed of the ASCII code and what components in the computer (hardware and/or software) actually perform the task of mapping bit streams into readable characters?

Another way of asking this question is at what point does a stream of 8 bits become a character and who does the conversion/mapping? Moreover, how did the components doing the conversion gain the intelligence to do so?

Does this make sense?

Thank you.

Nagaraja Thanthry Wed, 09/29/2010 - 19:45
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That conversion is handled by the individual application. Each application maintains its own set of mappings (if not, it uses the systems font repository). The data goes as bit stream upto the application layer and at the application layer, the application that receives the data converts the bit stream into corresponding characters (based on its own mapping or system fonts).The application then sends the data to standard ouput (video card). At the video card, based on the character mapping (ASCII codes), the video card will send appropriate signals to the character generating ROM (on the monitor) which will display the characters on the screen.

Hope this answers your questions.




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