Hierarchy

Hierarchical, or hierarchy, refers to systems that are organized in the shape of a pyramid. Items, such as objects, names, categories, or values, are represented as above, below, or at the same level as another item. Hierarchical systems are used in everyday life. For example, the army uses a hierarchy in that generals are at the top of the pyramid and privates are at the bottom. Similarly, the system for classifying plants and animals according to species, family, and genus is hierarchical. The term is derived from the Greek words hieros, meaning sacred, and archein, meaning rule or order.

Hierarchy in computing

File system hierarchy

The most common type of hierarchy in computing is a file system, in which computer files are placed somewhere in a hierarchical tree structure. File systems have a top level that is referred to as the root of the file system. Under the root are subdirectories such as Program Files, Documents, and Setting. Under these subdirectories are more subdirectories.

Memory hierarchy

Similarly, computer memory ranks components in terms of response times. Since response time, complexity, and capacity are related, the levels may also be distinguished by their performance and controlling technologies. There are four major memory storage levels:

  1. Internal: Such as processor registers and cache
  2. Main: Such as the system RAM and controller cards
  3. Online mass storage: Such as secondary storage
  4. Offline bulk storage: Such as tertiary and offline storage

While this is a general memory hierarchy, there are other useful structures out there.

Computer System Level Hierarchy

Computer System Level Hierarchy (CSLH) is the combination of different levels that connect the computer with the user and that make use of the computer. In addition, it describes how the computational activities are performed on the computer and the elements used in different levels of the system. CSLH consists of seven levels:

  • Level 0: Related to digital logic
  • Level 1: Related to control
  • Level 2: Consists of machines
  • Level 3: Consists of system software
  • Level 4: Consists of assembly language
  • Level 5: Consists of high-level language
  • Level 6: Consists of users and executable programs.
Web Webster
Web Websterhttp://www.webopedia.com
Web Webster has more than 20 years of writing and editorial experience in the tech sector. He’s written and edited news, demand generation, user-focused, and thought leadership content for business software solutions, consumer tech, and healthcare, as well as Dotdash’s Lifewire.com. In addition to editing webopedia.com, he edits and writes for a portfolio of tech industry news and analysis websites including LinuxToday.com, and DatabaseJournal.com.

Top Articles

List of Windows Operating System Versions & History [In Order]

The Windows operating system (Windows OS) refers to a family of operating systems developed by Microsoft Corporation. We look at the history of Windows...

How to Create a Website Shortcut on Your Desktop

Website Shortcut on Your Desktop reviewed by Web Webster   This Webopedia guide will show you how to create a website shortcut on your desktop using...

What are the Five Generations of Computers? (1st to 5th)

Reviewed by Web Webster Each generation of computer has brought significant advances in speed and power to computing tasks. Learn about each of the...

Hotmail [Outlook] Email Accounts

Launched in 1996, Hotmail was one of the first public webmail services that could be accessed from any web browser. At its peak in...

SHA-256

SHA-256 is an algorithm used for hash functions and is a vital component...

Document Management System

A document management system is an automated software solution businesses and organizations use...

Conti Ransomware

Conti ransomware first emerged in 2020. It uses a ransomware as a service...