What is a computer bus?

by Miriam Tocino

In your computer, the information and data are moving around, running from one side to another constantly.

That's why you'll always see us on the move. We love going on trips, especially when we have to solve new problems. It's our favorite thing!

what is a computer bus

Illustration of our upcoming book "Welcome to our World"

But, how is all this data traveling around? Well, computers have their own version of pathways and they're called computer buses.

In this blog post you'll learn:

Now, let's begin with some computer basics for kids!

What is a Computer Bus?

You can think of computers like digital cities with their own public transportation. A computer bus is like a school bus, in charge of transporting people from one destination to another.

In a similar way, a computer bus is a set of wires that transmits data or information between the different components. For example, from the CPU to the system memory.

A computer bus picks up data from one place and drops it off in another. And, it normally has a very strict schedule functioning at a regular interval of time.

Types of Computer Buses

This public transportation system inside your computer is split into three different types of buses: the Data Bus, the Address Bus, and the Control Bus.

what is a computer bus

  • The Control Bus carries signals that control the actions of the computer. For example, reading and writing data to and from memory.
  • The Address Bus carries addresses from the CPU to the memory or other input/output devices, and it only moves data in one direction.
  • And the Data Bus carries data and instructions from the memory or other storage devices to the CPU.

A Brief History

In the early days, the different parts of a computer, such as the CPU and RAMs, didn't fit all in one single board as they do today.

Instead, each of those components was separated in individual cabinets and the information had to travel from one cabinet to another through bundles of wires.

And, the very first computers in history required real humans to manually set those wires constantly!

what is a computer bus

Hooray-bits! You just learned what a computer bus is, the different types of computer buses and a brief history.

Now, it's exploration time!

The best way to understand what a computer bus is, it's by touching and feeling it. If right now breaking an old computer is not an option for you, you can still go online and search for some images!

You'll soon discover how computers aren't made out of magic. Although they might feel magical!

Lots of Megas from The Binary World,

Zerus & Ona

Complement your reading with what are bits and bytes and how computers work with color.


Want to learn more about computers?

Have a look at the Zerus & Ona collection. Our books teach computer basics for kids age 3+ with adorable characters, fun adventures, and a hands-on approach for parents and educators. Visit the shop!