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Stored Program Concept

John von Neumann and Alan Turing both proposed the stored program concept in separate publications in 1945.

  • A program must be resident in main memory to be executed
  • Machine code instructions are fetched from main memory one-at-a-time, decoded and executed in the processor.

Further explanation

Stored program concept - a program must be in main memory in order for it to be executed. The instructions are fetched, decoded and executed one at a time

Building on the Von Neumann architecture we get the idea of how the stored program concept works. If you have ever loaded a game on a console you might notice that:

  • you need to insert a disc
  • the disc spins
  • the game says loading
  • the game plays

This is the stored program concept in motion! Let's take apart what is happening:

  • You insert an optical disk (secondary storage) with the code on
  • The code is loaded into main memory
  • The processor fetches, decodes and executes instructions from main memory to play game



Von Neumann Architecture

In a von Neumann machine, a single store holds both instructions and the data that they are carried out on.

Additional Reading