Lecture 2

Information systems are about information, its flow, processes and people in the mix. Information systems, however, need computers to be executed on. This lecture very briefly describes basic hardware issues important to understand when dealing with information systems.

For many readers who have technical background this material is not new. It may be used to refresh your knowledge. For others, this material is new. I encourage all of you to read and listen to the provided materials, and also go to additional resources.

The first part of the lecture describes basic concepts related to computing and how computers work. In general, everything in computing is done by software running on hardware. This applies to complex programs running on supercomputers or servers as well as simple apps running on mobile devices and specialized tools embedded in devices such as home thermostats TVs.

If the above video does not work, download this file: Lecture Part 1.mp4


While we got used to personal computers and mobile devices, large supercomputers and farms of servers running billions of operations are present all over the world.

The magic behind computers is in he idea that they are multipurpose and can be programmed to do many things. Hardware by itself can't do much. Hardware becomes useful when equipped with software.

Probably nor many of you looked at what's inside a PC. Regardless if this is a desktop PC, a server, or a laptop computer most elements are common. Things like motherboard containing CPU, and memory, extension cards responsible for graphics sound and other types of communication (sometimes integrated within the motherboard), power supplies, and storage are common for all computers.

On top of hardware runs software. A special type of software is called operating systems. They form a middle layer between hardware and applications used by end users. Operating systems are responsible for managing applications, disks, memory, multitasking, input/output and many more things.

Finally, n important component of computing infrastructure related to information systems is networking. While technical details of cables and switches are not important, the mechanisms in which the Internet works are crucial. The lecture covers things like TCP/IP basics, private and local addresses, and naming domains.

Virtualization, cloud computing, and big data are topics gaining popularity. They all have multiple applications in healthcare and are crucial to understanding how modern advanced health information systems work.

If the above video does not work, download this file: Lecture Part 2.mp4


The first part of the lecture briefly described hat all we do in computing is software executed on hardware. You are probably all familiar with multiple types of simulators (from patient simulators to flight simulators and games). Imagine now that you have software which is a computer simulator. If the software is very realistic, you can have a computer within a computer. Actually you can have multiple "simulated" computers running on top of a real computer. Then you can install operating systems and applications within these simulated computers. One may ask question why to do these things. There are multiple reasons ranging from flexibility and ease of administration to security. You can easily see that you can use virtualization on your own computers.

Cloud computing provides access to virtual computers (or services on them) running somewhere in the cloud's. The cloud is really a large set of servers owned by some providers that can lease you CPU time.

This lecture describes virtualization and cloud computing issues related to health information systems.

If the above video does not work, download this file: Lecture Part 3.mp4


Interesting resources

Interesting resources