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I developed an interest in the way computers work on a fundamental level. I wanted to understand the use of discrete components and the circuits necessary to accomplish more complex tasks. One important fundamental component in a CPU is the arithmetic logic unit or the ALU which performs operations on integer numbers. To accomplish this task, computers utilize binary numbers and logic gates. One of the simplest operations performed is adding two numbers together, in an adder circuit. This video by numberphile does an excellent job of explaining this concept via Domino Addition. Matt Parker extends this basic concept and builds a Domino Computer circuit using 10,000 dominos. Building an entire personal computer out of dominos is absurd but I still wanted to understand the use of discrete components to accomplish this adding task. In the videos, logic gates were created out of dominos but they can also be made out of basic components, namely transistors and resistors. The purpose of this project was to utilize these discrete components to learn and create my own 4-bit adder calculator.
My goals for this project included:
1) Learn how to create and fabricate a custom PCB
2) Make the design easy to conceptualize adding binary numbers
3) Demonstrate the difference in scale between discrete components and an integrated circuit performing the same task
Much of the inspiration and understanding of this project came from Simon Inns.”

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