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w9q08 CSC-10029 Fundamentals of Computing

Keele University

School of Computing and Mathematics

CSC-10029 Fundamentals of Computing


1. List ten important operations on computer files.

Operations of computer files: 1. Create (new file for input); 2. Open (existing file in input or output); 3.
Close (file when not needed); 4. Read (item from file, match search condition); 5. Write (item on file);6. Update
(item on file); 7. Delete (item from file, match delete condition);8. Remove (delete file from computer );9. Copy
(make duplicate file content);10. Rename (change filename).

2. Describe two main functions of a file management system.

 Facilitate file creation, storage allocation, and tracking physical location(s) of a file
 Determine or grant user access rights (as read, write, delete)

3. Describe four main limitations of file-based systems .

• Data dependence on a programming language and incompatible file formats: data and file structure is
defined in the program code; programs may be written in different languages, and they cannot easily share files
and data management can become very difficult due to incompatible file formats

• Duplication of data: the same data is held by different programs (redundancy, waste of memory) and
data can easily become inconsistent

• Fixed queries from application programs: programs are written to satisfy particular requirements; any
new requirement needs a new program (proliferation of application programs & excessive program
maintenance costs)

• Separation and isolation of data: each program maintains its own data and users of one program may
be unaware of potentially useful data held by other programs • lack of control and enforcement of standards

4. Explain briefly how the database approach addresses the limitations of the file-based approach to data

The database approach attempts to eliminate (or control) data duplication and prevent potential
inconsistencies :

• all users share the same copy of the data

• data is regarded as existing on its own right and kept separate from users and programs that access it

w9q08 10029 - Revision Question SET 2

w9q08 CSC-10029 Fundamentals of Computing

• a database is a collection of shared, logically related data stored in automated form, normally
designed to meet the information needs of an organization.

• logically related data comprises attributes, entities, and relationships between the entities • data
quality is measured by correctness, consistency, effectiveness, and efficiency

5. In the context of database systems, what is a data model?

A data model describes how elements of data in a database are represented and relate to each other

• determines the way the database is structured and relationships between the data items, e.g. Could
link details of Lecturers to details of the Modules that they are involved with

• acts as a high level model of the data that can be understood by people (rather than computers)

6. Describe the key feature of a relational database.

Data organized as ‘relations’:

• A Relation is a Table

• Tables are made up of rows and columns

• Columns referred to as attributes, rows as records

• A database consists of multiple tables and relationships between those tables

7. Computer networks have evolved gradually to become an integral part of personal and corporate
computing applications. Explain briefly why computer networking is required.

We are familiar with home networks and using the Internet, which allow us to: share resources
(printers, disk-space, cloud-storage etc.) ,access specialized software, share expensive hardware devices,
communicate with others (email, VoIP, IM, etc.), publish information (web pages), access a wealth of
information resources , take part in multi-user games and other forms of entertainment .

8. Describe the structure of a data packet.

Every data packet has two parts:

a. the header : which contains:

• a packet number

• address of sender

• destination address

• length of following data

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w9q08 CSC-10029 Fundamentals of Computing

• error-correcting information (helps to deal with transmission problems and ‘noise on

the line’)

• the header is generated automatically when a message is split-up

b. the data: which contains bit patterns for the actual data – typically just a small fragment of
the entire message.

9. Name the most common Local Area Network (LAN) topologies and discuss the key differences between
them. For each of the topologies, list any advantages/disadvantages.

LANs can be built using a bus, ring or star formation (the network topology):

 Bus Topology: Each machine is connected to a single cable. Advantages: simple , cheap , good for small
networks. Disadvantages: frequent data packet collisions if traffic is heavy , cable failure brings whole
network down , limited cable length (electrical signal loses strength in longer cables).
 Ring Topology: Each machine is connected to a ring of cable (sometimes called a token ring)
Advantages: ordered transmission using tokens bearing a packet as payload, tokens constantly circulate
the ring until the sender sees its message has been read (receiver sets a flag), only the token’s owner
can update its payload, fewer collisions allow increased traffic. Disadvantages: cable failure brings whole
network down, overhead of passing all tokens through all hosts, difficult to extend to add more
 Star Topology: Each machine is connected to a central hub (could be another machine or a special
network server/device). Advantages: problems can be isolated to one branch of the star, failures do not
bring the whole network down. Disadvantages: the central hub is a single point of entire star-failure,
limitations on cable length.

10. Describe the role of the hub, switch, repeater and router in a computer inter-networking.

A hub is the most basic networking device that connects multiple computers or other network devices
together. Unlike a network switch or router, a network hub has no routing tables or intelligence on where to
send information and broadcasts all network data across each connection.

A repeater can be used to amplify data signals (but note: unfortunately also amplifies any noise on the

A switch is used to connect two LANs within a WAN usually within the same organization (a large office
block, university campus, etc)

A router performs the same function to connect different LANs and WANs (e.g. to connect to the

w9q08 10029 - Revision Question SET 2

w9q08 CSC-10029 Fundamentals of Computing

12. Describe briefly the function of each of the seven layers of the OSI network model. What are the
advantages and disadvantages of this layered approach to network protocols?

The ‘Open Systems Interconnect’ model has seven layers:

 Physical layer (the lowest layer)

 Datalink
 Network
 Transport
 Session
 Presentation
 Application (the highest level)

The OSI model : presents an abstraction of networking , bottom layer provides physical communication
capabilities, middle layers abstract and partition lower layers to provide services for upper layers , top layer
provides services for applications, helps hardware and software vendors to position themselves in the

13. What are the two parts of an IP address?

An IP address consists of two parts, one identifying the network and one identifying the host.

14. Describe the three classes of IP addresses.

IP addresses are organized into classes and they are expressed in the decimal format. Every number in each class
is represented as binary to computers.

15. What is the main difference between IPv4 and IPv6?

IPv4 (Internet Protocol Version 4) uses a 32-bit address scheme allowing for a total of 2^32 addresses (just over
4 billion addresses). With the growth of the Internet it is expected that the number of unused IPv4 addresses
will eventually run out because every device ( including computers, smartphones and game consoles) that
connects to the Internet requires an address.

IPv6 (Internet Protocol Version 6) is the newest version of the Internet Protocol (IP) reviewed to replace the
current version of IPv4 (Internet Protocol Version 4). IPv6 is the successor to Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4). It
was designed as an evolutionary upgrade to the Internet Protocol and will, in fact, coexist with the older IPv4 for
some time. IPv6 is designed to allow the Internet to grow steadily, both in terms of the number of hosts
connected and the total amount of data traffic transmitted.

w9q08 10029 - Revision Question SET 2