Brushing Up on Computer Science Fundamentals

published on 23 February 2023
CS Fundamentals-59rd2

The foundations of computer science span a wide range of subjects, including databases, computer networks, operating systems, algorithms, data structures, programming languages, and software development processes. Any student or software engineer studying computer science must comprehend these principles since they serve as the foundation for contemporary computer systems.

Good problem-solving abilities, meticulousness, and a strong background in mathematics are necessary for success in computer science. Additionally, being able to effectively express technical concepts and work with others is also vital in this sector.

Computer science is a discipline with a wide range of prospects and applications as a result of our growing reliance on technology in daily life and the increasing need for qualified software developers. Computer science fundamentals give a good foundation for pursuing a rewarding and significant career, regardless of your interests, which may include producing the next major software program, designing artificial intelligence systems, or enhancing the performance of computer hardware.

Basic computer concepts include:

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A.1. 📊Data Structures

In order to access, modify, and manipulate data effectively in a computer, data structures are used to organize and store the data. The selection of a data structure is based on the particular requirements of the problem being handled because different data structures are suitable for various jobs.

🔴Review: common data structures, such as arrays, linked lists, stacks, queues, trees, and graphs. Understand their performance characteristics and how they can be used to solve various types of problems.

📘Additional Reading: “Data Structures and Algorithms” in Python by Michael T. Goodrich: This book provides a thorough treatment of data structures and algorithms in Python, and includes a wide range of examples and exercises

📒More on Data Structures

A.2. ⚙️Algorithms

A series of instructions or procedures that are carried out in a specified order in order to complete a task or address an issue is known as an algorithm. Algorithms are employed in computer science for a variety of tasks, including sorting, searching, and pattern matching.

The study of algorithms, which encompasses their design, analysis, implementation, and performance evaluation, is a key component of computer science. There are numerous well-known algorithms for resolving typical issues, and algorithms can be categorized according to their design, execution duration, and other characteristics.

The efficiency and scalability of a software system can be improved by selecting the right algorithm for a certain task. Any software engineer must possess the knowledge of algorithms as well as the ability to create, use, and evaluate them.

🔴Review: common algorithms, such as sorting algorithms (e.g. bubble sort, merge sort, quick sort) and search algorithms (e.g. linear search, binary search).

📘Additional Reading: “The Algorithm Design Manual” by Steven S. Skiena: This book provides a practical approach to the design and analysis of algorithms, and includes a wide range of examples and exercises.

📒More on Algorithm

A.3. 🎲Object-Oriented Design

A software system is built using the Object-Oriented Design (OOD) paradigm, which focuses on modeling real-world objects and their interactions. In OOD, software objects are utilized to represent actual objects, and the interactions between the objects are used to simulate how the system would behave.

OOD is frequently utilized in contemporary software development and works especially effectively for intricate systems and programs. OOD makes it simpler to produce clean, maintainable, and scalable code by promoting excellent software design practices. The fundamentals of OOD are covered in great detail in computer science courses and are a requirement for any software engineer.

🔴Review: concepts such as inheritance, polymorphism, and encapsulation, and how they can be used to design object-oriented systems.

📘Additional Reading: Gamma, Richard Helm, Ralph Johnson, and John Vlissides: This book, also known as the "Gang of Four" book, is a classic resource on object-oriented design patterns and is widely considered a must-read for anyone interested in the subject. 

📒More on Object-Oriented Design 

A.4. ⌛Time and Space Complexity

A measure of how long an algorithm takes in relation to the volume of input it receives is called time complexity. Space complexity is a function that compares the amount of input to an algorithm to how much memory (space) is needed.

🔴Review: time complexity, space complexity, time and space trade-offs, complexity analysis and performance optimization.

📘Additional Reading: "Introduction to Algorithms" by Thomas H. Cormen, Charles E. Leiserson, Ronald L. Rivest, and Clifford Stein - This book is widely considered the standard reference for algorithms and data structures. It provides a comprehensive introduction to time and space complexity and covers a wide range of algorithms and data structures.

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A.5. ⌨️Computational Complexity Theory

A subfield of theoretical computer science called computational complexity theory looks at the resources needed to solve computational problems as well as the inherent challenges involved. Understanding what makes an issue challenging to solve and categorizing problems according to their difficulty are the two main objectives of computational complexity theory.

The development of effective algorithms for resolving real-world issues as well as the design and analysis of algorithms are all significantly impacted by computational complexity theory. It also offers a framework for comprehending computational power constraints and investigating the limitations of what a computer is capable of computing.

🔴Review: P, NP, & NP-hard problems, computational models, reductions, approximation algorithm, NP  completeness, probabilistic algorithms

📘Additional Readings: "Introduction to the Theory of Computation" by Michael Sipser: This is a classic textbook that provides a comprehensive introduction to the theory of computation and its applications in computer science. It covers topics such as finite automata, regular expressions, context-free grammars, pushdown automata, Turing machines, complexity theory, and NP-completeness.

📒More on Computational Complexity Theory

A.6. 📡Networking

The act of networking involves tying together computer hardware, such as servers, cellphones, and computers, in order to exchange data and resources. Sharing of files, printers, and internet access are all made possible through networking, which enables various devices to talk to one another and share data via a network.

Different technologies, such as wired connections like Ethernet or wireless connections like Wi-Fi, can be used to connect networks. The precise requirements and limitations of the network will determine the kind of network and the technology used to link the devices.

Communication, teamwork, and data sharing all depend on networking, which is a crucial part of modern computing. It is essential to many sectors, including healthcare, education, banking, and industry.

🔴Review: basic networking concepts, such as protocols, IP addresses, and HTTP.

📘Additional Reading: “Data and Computer Communications” by William Stallings: This book provides a comprehensive introduction to networks.

📒More on Networking

A.7. 📈Database

A database is a collection of data that has been structured and arranged to make optimal use of retrieval and manipulation of the data. A few examples of the various applications that use databases include e-commerce, financial systems, and customer relationship management systems.

A database management system (DBMS), which offers tools and interfaces for building, querying, updating, and maintaining the database, is in charge of managing databases. The particular needs and limitations of the application will determine the database and DBMS to use.

🔴 Review: common data structures, such as arrays, linked lists, stacks, queues, trees, and graphs. Understand their performance characteristics and how they can be used to solve various types of problems.

📘Additional Reading: “Data Structures and Algorithms in Python” by Michael T. Goodrich: This book provides a thorough treatment of data structures and algorithms in Python, and includes a wide range of examples and exercises

📒More on Database

A.8. 🛠️Operating Systems

The software that controls a computer's underlying hardware resources and offers a platform for other software applications to run on is known as an operating system (OS). It provides services like memory management, process management, and input/output (I/O) operations as an intermediate between the computer's hardware and the software programs.

Any computer system's operating system is a crucial component that is necessary for executing applications and carrying out crucial operations like file management and network connection.

The study of computing and algorithms, as well as how they are used in numerous domains including software engineering, artificial intelligence, databases, networks, and computer graphics, are all included in the discipline of computer science. It entails the creation, use, and usage of computer hardware and software to address issues, process data, interact with people, and solve problems.

🔴Review: fundamental concepts of operating systems, such as processes, threads, and concurrency.

📘Additional Reading: “Modern Operating Systems” by Andrew S. Tanenbaum: This book provides a comprehensive introduction to operating systems that is taught in school.

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A.9. 🖥️Computer Architecture

The design and layout of a computer system, including all of its hardware and software components, is referred to as computer architecture. It specifies how the parts of the computer communicate with one another and how data is handled and stored.

The performance of a computer system and the overall user experience are both significantly impacted by computer architecture. The system's speed, power usage, cost, and scalability are just a few of the variables that can be affected by the design choices chosen for the architecture. Computer engineers, software developers, and system administrators who need to be able to design, create, and manage computer systems that fulfill the needs of their users, must have a solid understanding of computer architecture.

🔴Review: basic computer architecture concepts, such as memory hierarchy and pipelining.

📘Additional Reading: “Computer Architecture: A Quantitative Approach” by John L. Hennessy and David A. Patterson: This book provides a more advanced breakdown of computer architecture.

📒More on Computer Architecture

A.10. 🖨️Encryption

Digital information can be secured through encryption, which converts it into a code to thwart illegal access. Only a secret key or password can be used to decrypt or decode the encrypted data. Cryptography is the study of encryption and decryption.

Sensitive data, such as credit card details, passwords, and private company data, are protected using encryption to prevent unauthorized access. Even if information is intercepted or stolen, encryption renders it unreadable without the right decryption key.

🔴Review: cryptographic algorithms, key management, PKI, encryption mode, attacks on encryption, security standards, and, cryptographic protocol

📘Additional Reading: "Cryptography Engineering: Design Principles and Practical Applications" by Niels Ferguson, Bruce Schneier, and Tadayoshi Kohno.

📒More on Encryption

A.11. 🔁Design Pattern

Reusable solutions to typical issues in software design are called design patterns. They offer a more effective and enduring strategy to address persistent issues. Design patterns can be utilized in a variety of settings, including object-oriented design, system architecture, and database design. They are not language-specific.

🔴Review: common design patterns, such as factory, observer, and singleton, and understand when to use them in your design.

📘Additional Reading: "Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software" by Erich Gamma, Richard Helm, Ralph Johnson, and John Vlissides is widely considered as one of the classic and must-read books for software developers interested in learning about design patterns. The book provides a comprehensive overview of various design patterns and how they can be applied in software development, making it a valuable resource for those who want to improve their design skills and write more efficient, maintainable, and reusable code.

📒More on Design Pattern

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