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SNHU - IT-201 Computer Platform Technologies
Written by: Chris Bell - October, 2012

Five Major Functions of an Operating System

1. What is the Unified Process system development methodology?

The Unified Process systems development methodology is a way of breaking the development process into smaller, more manageable pieces. In order to minimize errors developers like to use proven processes and the Unified Process has proven to work over the years.

2. What are the major differences between each generation of programming languages (i.e., first-generation through fifth-generation)?

The major differences in the generations are the upgrades throughout time. In order, the first generation used long binary numbers and the second generation started using much shorter mnemonic codes called assembly language. A bigger step in the process was the third generation because in began started the one-to-many relationship. Instead of processing one instruction at a time it could process many at once speeding up the process 10 fold. The fourth generation was an improvement of speed and use from the third and the latest step was the fifth generation implementing non-procedural processing similar to how humans accept and output information.

3. What is a compiler? How is it different from an interpreter?

They both provide the most suitable way to retrieve data. A compiler commonly converts high level instructions to machine language and an interpreter converts instructions into an immediate form.

4. What are the five major functions of an operating system?

5. How is memory allocated by an operating system?

All portions of the programs and operating system are loaded into sequential locations of memory.

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6. What is virtual memory?

Virtual memory helps with multitasking kernels. When a computer has 5 applications open at the same time a standard 32 or 64 megabytes of RAM wouldn't be enough to handle them all at once. Virtual memory will save the data to an open area while running the 2nd or 3rd application.

7. List and describe three factors that have caused Java to become a popular programming environment.

8. Describe the difference between big-endian and little-endian formats.

The difference between big-edian and little-edian formats is the size of the bit code which can be 16 or 32 for example. It must first be determined that it's big or little and then possibly converted if necessary depending on the CPU being used.

9. List and describe the two goals of multitasking memory allocation.

10. List and describe the three components of an integrated development environment.

Integrated development environments speed up the development and testing by using support tools such as compilers, interpreters and program editors. Instead of using different programs it uses design, editing and debugging within the same environment.


Olivia (February, 2011). Difference Between Compiler and Interpreter. Retrieved from: