Fundamentals and Methods of Computer Science at Universität St. Gallen

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Why is it important to have HTTP & Transport Layer Security (TLS)?

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Definition Transport Layer Security (TLS)

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Definition: Bits and Bytes
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Exemplary flashcards for Fundamentals and Methods of Computer Science at the Universität St. Gallen on StudySmarter:

Illustrate labels in the domain name syntax 


The hostname is apps.unisg.ch.

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Defintion Boolean Algebra

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Add the numbers 7 and 9 into your CPU example

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Definition Moore‘s law.
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Numeral Systems

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CPU - Central Processing Unit

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Domain Name System

Why would we need IP addresses?

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What do we need to design an extremely simple processor?
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How does Transport Layer Security work?

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Fundamentals and Methods of Computer Science

Why is it important to have HTTP & Transport Layer Security (TLS)?

Issues such as data protection, data integrity, and proper authentication between computers are important issues that need to be discussed in the context of the networking stack.

Fundamentals and Methods of Computer Science

Definition Transport Layer Security (TLS)

TLS is an example of a cryptographic protocol that addresses such security issues. Since it exists "on top of" TCP, it is treated like a Transport Layer Protocol. However, since applications must actively initiate TLS, it is sometimes classified as an Application Layer Protocol.



Fundamentals and Methods of Computer Science

Definition: Bits and Bytes
  • In the world of computers, bits are used as the medium to store information.
  • 8 bits are 1 byte - A bit is a single information unit that has two possible states (e.g. 0 or 1; True or Fals; etc.)

Fundamentals and Methods of Computer Science

Illustrate labels in the domain name syntax 


The hostname is apps.unisg.ch.

The hostname is apps.unisg.ch

  • Its DNS leaf domain is apps
  • Its DNS second-level domain is unisg
  • Its DNS top-level domain is ch

Fundamentals and Methods of Computer Science

Defintion Boolean Algebra
Beside these bits, computers also need to be able to perform calculations with these bits in order to get useful outputs.  This is why we use logic operations.  This way of calculating with bits is called Boolean Algebra.

Fundamentals and Methods of Computer Science

Add the numbers 7 and 9 into your CPU example
  • Store 7 into M[0]: 100 0111 00
  • Store 9 into M[1]: 100 1001 01
  • Load from M[0] to R[0]: 000 00 0
  • Load from M[1] to R[1]: 000 01 1
  • Add registers into R[0]: 010 0
  • Store result in M[2]: 001 0 10

Note that the encoding on this machine-level program is (and has to be) unique! This very important characteristic allow us to omit the formatting and wirte the program as one number string: 1000111001001001010000000000110100001010

Fundamentals and Methods of Computer Science

Definition Moore‘s law.
In order to have fast computers it is important to have as many transistors as possible in a given area ( high density of transistors). In recent years we have observed that this density doubles in regular time frames - roughly doubled every two years. At the same time, this is called Moore‘s law. 

Fundamentals and Methods of Computer Science

Numeral Systems
  • Information and numbers can be stored and represented in the binary system —> e.g. base-2 numeral system (0s and 1s).
  • the base always signals how many different states are used to represent information
    • binary 2 [0, 1]
    • octal 8 [0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]
    • hexadecimal 16 [0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, A, B, C, D, E, F]

Fundamentals and Methods of Computer Science

CPU - Central Processing Unit
  • Is the main chip in a computer and is responsible for carrying out all tasks. It Runs in a constant loop and tells all the other components in the computer what to do. —> Typical construction is to add or subtract number.
  • CPU‘s usually have clock frequencies of around 2.5 to 3.5 GHz —> roughly 2.5 - 3.5. billion cycles per second.

Fundamentals and Methods of Computer Science

Domain Name System

Why would we need IP addresses?

  • As IP addresses depend on the specific topology of this network any change within the structure of the respective network may change the IP address of a certain host. Thus, identifying such servers should not be host based (imagine you had to look up the new IP address every time you wanted to access the Studentweb)
  • As names are essentially abstract, they are more stable than normal addresses. Therefore, network services should use names instead of IP addresses.

Before one can use a named host, the DNS performs a mapping between IP addresses and names.

Fundamentals and Methods of Computer Science

What do we need to design an extremely simple processor?
The Hardware features of this CPU are:
  • 4 Memory Slots of size 4 bits each
  • 2 Registers of size 4 bits each
  • An ALU that can Add and subtract
  • An instruction set with 5 instructions
    • Load from Memory address x (i.e., M [xx]) into register y (i.e., R[y]): 000 xx y
    • Store from R[x] into M[yy]: 001 x yy
    • Add the register contents and store the result in R[x]: 010 x
    • Subtract the contents of R[0] from R[1] and store the result in R[x]: 011 x
    • Store the 4-bit number nnnn into M[xx]: 100 nnnn xx

Fundamentals and Methods of Computer Science

How does Transport Layer Security work?

TLS ensures that connections are secure and reliable, and identifies are properly authenticated. Because it runs "on top of" TCP, TLS only protects matters above the transport layer. Matters at the transport layer level or below are not protected by TLS. This means that HTTP is protected because it is part of the application layer. However, an attacker could still view the host address/host port number, the amount of data transferred, or the duration of interaction with the host, since these actions take place "below" or at the transport layer.

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