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of technical terms and abbreviations
access v connect to, or get (information) from, a system or a database
access control a feature of a computer security system which prevents unauthorized users from accessing a system
a user request for data from a database
accumulator a register that holds the results of operations performed by the arithmetic portion of the CPU
acoustic coupler a device that converts the digital data of the computer into a sound signal that can be understood and transmitted by a telephone network. The connection is usually made by placing the handset of a telephone into rubber cups containing a microphone and a loudspeaker.
adaptor board a circuit board put in a spare slot in a microcomputer to control an external device
A/D converter analog-to-digital converter: an electronic circuit that changes analog signals to digital signals
address a location within the memory of a computer
address bus a signal route within a computer dedicated to sending address information. This may be a subset of the system bus.
address registera register which stores an address in memory
Al artificial intelligence
ALGOL] algorithmic language: a language developed for mathematical and scientific purposes
algorithm a prescribed set of well-defined rules or instructions for the solution to a problem
alphanumeric adj used to describe data that contains numbers and letters
analog adj describing a smoothly varying signal that has no discontinuities
analogue see analog
analyst someone responsible for understanding a problem in a business environment and designing a computer system to solve it
android a mobile robot whose structure approximately resembles that of a human
ANSI American National Standards Institute: an industry-supported standards organization founded in 1918 that Establishes US industrial standards and their correspondence to those established by the International Standards Organization (ISO)
anti-glare shield] a protective screen over the front of a computer screen to reduce the amount of reflected light
APL a programming language: originally devised as a mathematical notation and later turned into a language
application(s) program a program written in a high-level language, designed to perform a specific function such as calculate a company's payroll
application software applications programs (i.e. programs that directly meet the needs of the computer user). In contrast, systems software (part of the operating system), although essential, does not directly meet any specific user needs.
arithmetic-logic unit the component of the CPU which performs the actual arithmetic and logic functions asked for by a program
arithmetic unit sec arithmetic-logic unit
artificial intelligence the discipline concerned with the building of computer programs that perform tasks requiring intelligence when done by humans
information interchange: a standard character encoding scheme introduced in 1963. It is a 7-bit code allowing 128 different bit patterns or characters.
Assembler a program that takes as input a program written in assembly language and translates it into machine code
Assembly language a human-readable representation of machine-code program
Assignment statement a fundamental statement of most programming languages that assigns a new value to variables
asynchronous describing a form of computer control timing in which a specific operation is begun as soon as a signal is received to indicate that the preceding operation has been completed
AT-compatible describing a computer which can run the same software as the IBM PC model AT
audio board a computer expansion board that allows sound to be recorded and played back by the computer
audio note in multimedia, a digitized audio message that can be attached to text or graphics
auto-kerning a word-processing feature that automatically adjusts the space between the characters of a typeface to give the best-looking fit
automate v use automatic equipment and machines to perform an activity previously done by people
automaton a machine capable of operating independently, such as a clothes drier
auto numbering a feature that automatically numbers diagrams, paragraphs, etc.. in a documen
B a programming language derived from BCPL
Background describing processing which does not involve computer-user interaction. Such processes use spare computer resources to perform low-priority tasks.
Backing storage set-secondary memory
backup n a copy of a piece of data or a program taken in case something happens to the data or to the disk on which the original data is stored
back up v take a backup
bandwidth the difference between the lowest and highest frequency in a group of frequencies
bar code a machine-readable printed code that consists of parallel bars of varied width and spacing. usually used to code goods
bar code scanner a scanning device that can read bar codes as input
BASIC beginners' all-purpose symbolic instruction code: a programming language developed in the mid-1960s to exploit the capability (new at that time) of the interactive use of a computer from a terminal
batch program a program that runs without any terminal or user interaction. Typically such programs perform large scale updates. Produce reports, or handle housekeeping functions. A high priority batch job may be run in foreground.
BCPL a programming language used for systems programming
Binary adder the portion of the arithmetic-logic unit which performs binary addition and subtraction
Binary arithmetic arithmetic done to the base 2 using only 0 and 1 as its basic digits
binary number a number (0 or 1) used in binary arithmetic
bistable an electronic circuit whose output can have one of two stable states, i.e. on or off
bit binary digit holding the value 0 or 1: the smallest unit of information in a computer system
bit-mapped describing the image displayed on a computer screen whereby each pixel corresponds to one or more bits in memory
BIX Byte Information Exchange: an online service
block a physical group of records on a tape or disk. A number of blocks form a tile. Records are blocked together to improve I/O throughput.
Boolean algebra an algebra closely related to logic in which the symbols do not represent arithmetic quantities
boot v reload the operating system of a computer
broadcast a message-routing algorithm in which a message is transmitted to all nodes in a network
bug n an error in a program
bulletin board a teleconferencing system that allows users to read messages left by previous users on a variety of topics. All users can see all messages, unlike e-mail where the message is private.
bus a signal route within a computer to which several items may be connected so that signals may be passed between them
bus network a network topology which is non-cyclic, with all nodes connected. Traffic travels in both directions and some kind of arbitration is needed to determine which terminal can use the network at any one time.
Byte a character consisting of 8 binary digits or bits
C a highly portable programming language originally developed for the UNIX operating system, derived from BCPL via a short-lived predecessor B
C++ a programming language combining the power of object-oriented programming with the efficiency and notational convenience of C
cabling the wiring used to carry the signals for a network
CAL Computer Assisted Learning: one of several terms used to describe the use of computers in training and education
CALL Computer Assisted Language Learning: the use of computers in the teaching of languages
Capacity the amount of free unused space left on a disk
CBT computer-based training: sec CAL
CD-ROM the predominant form of ROM optical disk. Both disk and drive are based on the product used for commercial music systems. The disk is 120mm in diameter, single-sided, and holds up to 600Mb of data.
cell a location in a spreadsheet capable of holding text, numeric data, or a formula
Central processing unit the principal operating part of a computer, consisting of the arithmetic unit and the control unit
Channel a specialized processor that consists of an information route and associated circuitry to control input/output operations. More than one I/O device may be attached to a channel for fast accessing and updating of information.
Check point a point in a series of programs at which a backup is taken, and the point at which the series of programs will be restarted
chip see microchip
circuit a combination of electrical devices and conductors that form a conducting path
circuit board aboard containing integrated circuits which make up the processor, memory, and electronic controls for the peripheral equipment of microcomputers
click v press the button on a mouse to initiate some action or mark a point on the screen
clipboard see portable computer
clock an electronic device that generates a repetitive series of pulses, used to control and synchronize the internal workings of a computer
cluster controller a device that controls a number of similar peripheral devices such as terminals and links them up to the main computer
coaxial cable a type of network cable
consisting of two wires, one of which is contained totally within the other
COBOL common business-oriented language: a high-level language designed for commercial business use
code n the representation of information data in symbolic language or in a secret fashion
code v write a computer program
cold-boot v load the operating system of a computer from 'cold' (i.e. when the computer has to be switched on first)
command-based a computer system which interacts with the user by commands entered at a prompt on the screen. See command line interface.
COMMAND.COM the main part of DOS
command line interface a method of interaction with a computer whereby the user types specific commands in order to achieve his requirements. This is generally regarded as not very user-friendly, although it is often the most
efficient way of communicating with the computer.
comment part of a program text included for the benefit of the human reader and ignored by the compiler
compile v interpret a source program or a list of instructions in symbolic language
compiler n a program which converts source programs into machine code. Each high-level language has its own compiler.
compound document an electronic document which may contain text, photographs. spreadsheets, audio, or graphics
compress v in multimedia, to force
digitized data into a smaller space for handling by the system
CompuServe an online service
computational psychologya discipline lying across the border of artificial intelligence and psychology concerned with building computer models of human cognitive processes. It is based on an analogy between the human mind and computer programs.
computer put simply, a system that is capable of carrying out a sequence of operations in a distinctly and explicitly defined manner
computer centre a place where there is a central computer facility usually containing mainframes
computer game an interactive game played against a computer
computerize v provide a computer to do the work of/for something
computer language see programming language
conceptual schema the logical design of a database
conference a computer-based system enabling users to participate in a joint activity despite being separated in space or time
conference a computer-based system enabling users to participate in a joint activity despite being separated in space or time
configuration the particular hardware elements and how they are interconnected in a computer system or network
consultant a (computer) expert brought in to give advice
control bus a signal route within a computer dedicated to the sending of control signals
control flow construct a syntactic form in a programming language to express the flow of control. Common structures are “if... then... else...”, “while... do...”', “repeat... until...”, and “case”.
control function a function performed by the control unit of a computer coordinating the internal functions and passing commands to the processor
control signal an electronic signal sending a control message to another part of the computer or to a robot
control unit one of the two main components of the CPU. It transmits coordinating control signals and commands to the computer.
counter a component of the control unit which selects instructions one at a time from memory
CPU central processing unit
crash n a severe failure of a computer system that causes the hardware or software to be restarted
cursor a symbol on a computer screen that indicates the active position, e.g. the position at which the next character to be entered will be displayed
cut and paste a word-processing or desktop publishing software feature which allows the user to mark a piece of text and then move it to a different location, not necessarily in the same document
cyborg an android with organic structures. Cyborgs have some physiological structures similar to human beings.
data information that has been prepared, often in a particular format, for a specific purpose. The term is used in computing to distinguish information from program instructions.
databank see database
database a file or group of files structured in such a way as to satisfy the needs of various users and accessed using the facilities of a database management system
database management systema software system designed to handle multiple requests for data access while at the same time maintaining the integrity of the data
data bus a bus dedicated to sending data between different parts of a computer
data frame one of a number of predefined slices into which data may be broken for transmission
data-manipulation language n ,lasngwid5/ l10j a sublanguage of a database language providing facilities for storing, retrieving. updating, and deleting data records
data processing the handling or manipulating of information called data which is specially prepared to be understood by the computer
DBMS] database management system
debug v remove bugs from a program
DEC Digital Equipment Corporation
decision support system (computerized) system designed to aid managers in day-to-day operational decisions
dedicated used exclusively for something
delete key the key on a keyboard which, when the cursor is placed over a character, deletes it
desktop publishing the use of a computer system to perform many of the functions of a printing shop, including page layout and design, choice of fonts, and the inclusion of illustrations. The output may be sent to a printer or to a high quality typesetter.
detonator a device used to set off another process or event
device a piece of hardware that is attached to a computer and is not part of the main central processor (CPU)
device control the use of control characters to control external devices
dialing up using a modem to connect a terminal or PC to a remote computer
digit a number which has only one character: 0, 1, 2. 3, 4. 5, 6, 7. 8. or 9
digital the use of discrete digits to represent arithmetic numbers
digital signal a wave form or signal whose voltage at any particular time will be at any one of a group of discrete values (generally a two-level signal)
digital transmission he sending of digital signals along a communications link
digitize v convert analog signals to digital representation
digitized sound sound waves that have been converted into a series of bit strings for digital representation
DIP document image-processing
directory see disk directory
disk a storage device in the form of a circular magnetic plate in which the information is stored via magnetic encoding
disk directory an index to the contents of a disk
disk drive a device which is capable of transmitting magnetic impulses representing data from the disk to the computer memory and vice versa
disk error a detected (or otherwise) error in the way that data is stored on the surface of a magnetic disk. Such errors are usually detected when reading from or writing to the disk.
diskette see floppy disk
display see VDU
distributed (computer) systemthe organization of processing whereby each process is free to process local data. The processes exchange information with each other over a network.
document v produce the material that serves to describe a program and make it more readily understandable
document image-processinga system which takes scanned images of documents and stores them on computer for access, rather than filing the paper copies of the document
document processing the machine-processing, reading, sorting, etc., of documents that are generally readable both by humans and computers, e.g. bank cheques
DOS disk operating system: the generic term for the operating system developed for IBM PCs and their clones
download v send programs or data from a central computer to a remote terminal or PC
DR/DOS Digital Research disk operating system
DTP desktop publishing
dump v in a system handling large numbers of users' files stored on magnetic disk. to take a periodic record of the state of the disks that are made on magnetic tape, in order to protect against accidental overwriting or mechanical failure of the disks
EBCDIC extended binary coded decimal interchange code: a proprietary IBM character encoding scheme based on eight bits allowing 2 56 characters
electronic circuit a combination of electrical devices and semiconductors that form a conducting path
electronic mail] messages sent between users of computer systems, where the system is used to hold and transport messages. Sender and receiver need not be online at the same time.
electronic publishing the publishing of text in an electronic format
e-mail electronic mail
ergonomic describing something which is designed to take into account the human who is to use it
execute v run a program in a computer
expansion the addition of extra facilities or features
expansion board a printed circuit board that may be inserted into a computer to give it extra functionality
expansion slot a spare space on the system board of a computer to which expansion boards can be fitted
expert system /'eksp3:t ,sist3m/ a system built for problem solving which tries to emulate the skills of a human expert. The result of study in the field of artificial intelligence.
external schema /ik,st3:nal 'ski:ms/ a user's permitted view of data in a database
facsimile machine a machine which will provide electronic transmission of documents over telephone lines
fault-tolerant of a computer system, having the ability to recover from an error without crashing
fax n 1 facsimile machine 2 the output from a facsimile machine
fax board an adaptor board which can be put into a computer and linked to a telephone line to replicate the functions of a facsimile machine directly from the computer
FDD floppy disk drive
feature facility provided by an application
fibre optics data transmission using cable made of optical fibres instead of copper wire
field an item of data consisting of a number of characters or bytes to form a number, a name. or an address
firmware system software (part of the operating system) that is held in ROM
file information held on disk or tape in order for it to exist beyond the time of execution of a program. Files may hold data, programs, text, or any other information.
file encryption a security method whereby an algorithm is used to scramble the data before it is written to disk to prevent unauthorized users reading the data directly from the disk
fixed-format record a record whose data items are fixed in nature, in contrast to records whose layout may change according to the data being held
flicker on a screen, the rapid increase and decrease of brightness
floppy (disk) a flexible magnetic disk which can be removed from the computer. The two most common sizes are 3-inch and 5-inch
flowchart a diagram or a sequence of steps which represent the solution to a problem. Arrows are used to show the sequence of events.
footprint the amount of desk or floor space taken up by a computer
foreground describing high-priority the computer involving a graphics screen, icons, and some form of pointing device such as a mouse. See command line interface and window.
format v prepare a disk for use by a computer whereby the structure of the pattern of information to be held on the disk is written to the disk surface
FORTRAN (77) formula translation: a programming language widely used for scientific computation. The “77” defines the year in which the official standard (to which the language conforms) was issued.
frame-grabber a device for capturing a still video image and converting it into a digital form that can be viewed on a computer screen. By capturing a sequence of still images, it can effectively create a moving picture
free-format describing data whose structure is not pre-defined
full-motion video captured and digitized video images displayed on a computer screen giving the viewer the impression of watching a television picture.
Functional language a programming language whose programs consist typically of sets of unordered equations that characterize functions and values. The values that are characterized by the equations include the desired results, and these values are calculated by executing the program.
function register a register used to control the processing of a function
gateway a device that links two networks in a way that is usually visible to the network users (as opposed to a bridge which is not visible). Gateways may deal with differences of protocol and naming convention when converting between the two networks.
grammar check software that attempts to correct the grammar of a piece of text or offer advice on its structure
graphical (user) interface a style of interaction between the user and user, in an environment that allows background tasks the computer involving a graphics screen, icons, and some form of pointing device such as a mouse. See command line interface and window.
graphics a non-character based method of displaying information on a screen, usually used for displaying pictures. The basic unit from which the display is built up is the pixel.
grid used for touch-screen and pen-based computers. Voltage is sent across the glass in horizontal and vertical lines forming a grid.
GUI graphical user interface
hacker a person who attempts to breach the security of a computer system by access from a remote point. This may be for amusement or for a more sinister purpose.
hard disk a fixed disk inside a computer which may not be removed
hardware the computer equipment and its peripherals
Hardware interrupt /,ha:dwear inta'rApt/ see interrupt
HDD /,eitJ di: 'di:/] hard disk drive
Hexadecimal /,heks3'desimal/ arithmetic to the base 16
high-level language /hai levl 'la3r)gwid3/ a language in which each instruction represents several machine code instructions, making the notation more easily readable by the programmer
home-shopping service /haum .i'upiiJ ,s3:vis/ an online service that allows one to purchase items by placing an order over the network, usually by credit card
IAL international algebraic language: former name for ALGOL
IBM International Business Machines
IBM-compatibility describing computers that conform to the hardware specification of the IBM PC and will run all the hardware that an IBM PC will run
icon] a visual symbol or picture used in a menu to represent a program or a file. The program is usually initiated by using a mouse and clicking the mouse's button when the cursor is over the icon.
image compression a technique for reducing the amount of space that a graphics image will take to store in computer storage
index n a set of links that can be used to locate records in a data file
index generation the facility to automatically generate a sorted alphabetical index for a document
infected of a computer, being inhabited by a computer virus
infector] something that transmits a computer virus
inference engine within the context of expert systems, the part of the expert system that operates on the knowledge base and produces inferences
information separators control characters used to delimit the boundaries of pieces of information
Information Services Managerthe head of the computer department
information system a computer-based system with the defining characteristic that it provides information to users in one or more organizations
ink jet printer a printer that produces an image by squirting a fine jet of ink onto specially absorbent paper
information technology any form of technology, incorporating computing, telecommunications, electronics, and broadcasting, used by people to handle information
inference tree the structure of a set of inferences which show how a conclusion was reached
input n the information which is presented to the computer
input v put information to a computer for storage or processing
input device any device that allows data to be passed into the computer
input-output the part of a computer system or the activity that is primarily dedicated to the passing of data into or out of the central processing unit
input port the socket into which an input device may be plugged on a computer
input tagging a feature of word-processing software that allows text to be pre-coded with tags so that the correct format can be applied automatically
instruction part of a computer program which tells the computer what to do at that stage
integrated circuit an implementation of a particular electronic-circuit function in which all the individual devices required to realize the function are fabricated on a single chip of semiconductor
interactive describing a system or a mode of working in which there is a direct response to the user's instructions as they are input
interactive video a computerized video system used for learning or play, in which the user interacts with the video.
interface a common boundary between two systems, devices, or programs
interface cable the logic cable between the computer and a device. Signals and data are passed over this link.
interlaced video in narrow-band PAL systems, a method of transmitting all 62 5 lines of a single TV image in a fiftieth of a second, whereby each frame of the image is split into two fields of 312.5 lines
internal memory memory held within the CPU. The main storage or primary memory of the computer.
internal modem a modem which can be fitted inside a computer rather than a separate piece of equipment
internal schema the way that the data is physically held in a database
internal storage see internal memory
Internet an informal shared public network linking UNIX and other computers world-wide using the Internet protocol (IP)
interrupt n a signal to the processor that a higher priority event has occurred and must be serviced, causing the current sequence of events to be temporarily suspended
I/O device any device that allows input or output to a computer
IP Internet protocol
ISDN Integrated Services Digital Network: a concept developed by PTTs providing one network to transmit all forms of signal traffic, e.g. voice and data over the same lines
ISO International Standards Organization
IT information technology
joy stick an input device used in computer games for controlling the cursor or some other symbol in its movement around a screen
junction box a box attached to a network which attaches a device to the network
K kilobyte: unit of measure of memory or disk space in thousands of bytes. 1 kilobyte is 1024 bytes.
keyboard an input device like a typewriter for entering characters. The depression of a key causes a signal to be transmitted to the computer.
keyboard lock a security method whereby the screen is cleared and the keyboard is locked after a pre-set period of inactivity to prevent unauthorized use
key number a unique number generated to identify a record
knowledge base within the context of expert systems, a collection of knowledge that has been formalized into the appropriate representation with which to perform reasoning, usually a set of rules about the subject
LAN local area network
laptop see portable computer
laser printer a non-impact printer in which the paper is charged electrostatically with an image of the whole page to be printed. This attracts dry ink powder which is then baked on to the paper.
LaserWriter a laser printer manufactured by Apple Corporation
LCD liquid crystal display
linkage editor a systems program which fetches required systems routines and links them to the application program object module
liquid crystal display one type of technology that is used to produce flat monochrome computer screens. Such screens do not have their own internal illumination.
LISP list processing: a programming language designed for the manipulation of non-numeric data. It is commonly used in artificial intelligence research.
load module the program which is directly executable by the computer
local area network a network linking a number of nodes in the same area, limited usually to a building or sites up to a kilometer apart
logical operation an operation on logical values producing a Boolean result of true or false
logical record the collection of data in a database relating to one subject
logical unit see arithmetic logic unit
LOGO a programming language developed for use in teaching young children
log on identify oneself to a computer system in order to gain access to it
loop n a sequence of instructions that is repeated until a certain condition is reached
low-level language a language such as assembly language in which each instruction has one corresponding instruction in machine code
Mac Apple Macintosh computer
machine code the code actually executed by the computer, not easily readable by the programmer
machine translation the use of computers to translate natural languages
magnetic card reader a device for reading the data held on the magnetic strip on a card such as a credit card
magnetic tape a strip of plastic coated with magnetic oxide used to store information sequentially. Tapes may be hundreds of feet long.
Mail analyst someone who is responsible for directing mail. which has been scanned using a DIP system, to the correct recipient
Mail merge a software feature which allows the user to read in a file of names and addresses and create 'personalized' letters for mail shots
Mainframe (computer)] a large computer which requires a special environment for temperature and humidity in order to run it. This is in contrast to minicomputer or microcomputer.
Main storage sec internal memory
management information systema (computerized) system for providing information to management
maths function a software feature which allows simple mathematical functions to be carried out (such as totalling columns)
megabyte one million bytes: unit of measure for the amount of memory or disk storage on a computer
megaflop a million floating point instructions per second. Floating point notation is a representation of real numbers that allows both very large and small numbers to be conveniently represented. A floating point instruction is an arithmetic operation on two floating point numbers.
memory a device or medium that can retain information for later retrieval. It is usually used to refer to the internal storage of a computer that can be directly addressed by operating instructions.
memory board a circuit board which contains additional memory for a computer
menu-driven describing a program that obtains input by displaying a list of options (the menu) from which the user indicates his choice
message-base posting another form of e-mail
MHz MegaHertz: a measure of the speed of a computer's CPU. In millions it measures the number of processing cycles performed by the CPU.
micro see microcomputer
microchip a semiconductor device used to build the hardware of a computer
microcomputer a computer whose CPU is a microprocessor semiconductor chip
microprocessor/,maikrau'prauses3(r)/ a semiconductor chip that forms the central processor of a computer
Microsoft a computer software company
minicomputer originally a computer contained within a single equipment cabinet. Compared with mainframes they are usually smaller and slower. The word is no longer used very specifically since the advent of microcomputers.
Minitel a French online system originally provided by the PTT to provide access to French telephone directories. The service has been expanded since its original introduction.
modem modulator and demodulator: a device that converts the digital bit stream used by the computer into an analog signal suitable for transmission over a telephone line (modulation), and then converts it back to digital (demodulation)
monitor see VDU
monochrome describing a screen with a single-colour display
mouse a device used to point at a location on a computer screen. It is moved around by hand on a flat surface. The movements on the surface correspond to movements on the screen. The mouse has one or more buttons to initiate an action on the screen.
MPC multimedia personal computer: Microsoft's minimum specifications for hardware to be used for multimedia purposes
MS/DOS Microsoft disk operating system
MT machine translation
multimedia an application of computer technology that allows the capture, manipulation, and presentation of different types of data, e.g. text, graphics, video, animation, sound. etc.
multiple rulers rulers to define margins and tab settings
multiplexer a device that merges information from several communications channels into one channel. It is a two-way device and is also used to separate out the combined signal into the individual channels.
multiprogramming see multi-tasking
multi-sync monitor a video monitor that can synchronize a range of video devices to a common time-base
multi-tasking used of computers capable of running more than one program at the same time, although on most only one program has control and is executing at any given moment
multi-user describing computer systems which allow access by more than one user simultaneously
NCR National Cash Register, now a computer company
network a system which connects up a number of computers and communications devices to enable messages and data to be passed between those devices
network-compatible describing software that can be run on a network with shared files rather than as a stand alone piece of PC software
network traffic the data transmitted around a network
node either a point in a network where communications lines are interconnected, or where a workstation or a mainframe computer is attached
notation a system of symbols
notebook see portable computer
numeric adj  describing data which only contains numbers
object module see object program
object-oriented describing a computer architecture in which all processes, files, I/O operations, etc., are represented as objects (i.e. data structures in memory that may be manipulated by hardware and software). The IBM System 38 is an Example of an object-oriented architecture system.
object program] the result of converting source code into machine code using a compiler
OCR optical character recognition: a process in which a machine scans, recognizes, and encodes information printed or typed in alphanumeric characters
octal arithmetic to the base 8
off-line describing any part of a computer system which operates independently of the central processing unit
online, on-line used of computer services that are accessed from a terminal interactively
online service a public database or bulletin board which can be accessed over a computer or telephone network
operating environment the hardware and operating system being used
operating system the set of programs that jointly control the system resources and the processes using those resources on a computer
operator 1 someone responsible for running a computer (usually a mainframe) 2 see relational operator
optical character reader a device which scans, recognizes, and encodes information printed or typed in alphanumeric characters
OS operating system
OS/2 an operating system for IBM PCs
outliner a writing aid to enable the structure of a document to be worked out in advance and used as a guide when writing the detailed document
output the result of performing arithmetic and logical operations on data. It can be displayed on screen or transmitted by the computer.
output v transmit processed data to a physical medium such as a printer or disk drive
output device a device which transmits or displays processed data, e.g. a printer, disk drive, or VDU screen
output port the socket into which an output device may be plugged
package see software package
paint software software that allows the user to create graphics images using techniques that emulate painting and drawing
PAL the European standard for television and video systems requiring a vertical refresh rate of 50kHz
palmtop set' portable computer
parallel describing the transfer of data across the interface by having one connection per bit of a data word, e.g. for 8 bits there would be 8 connections in parallel. The control signals are also carried on individual connections in parallel. See serial and bit. 2 112] describing computers with more than one central processing unit which work in parallel to solve a problem simultaneously
parameter information which is passed to a program subroutine
parse v analyse the syntax of an input string
PASCAL a programming language designed as a tool to assist the teaching of programming as a systematic discipline
password a method of security in which the user has to enter a unique character string before gaining access to a computer system
PC personal computer
POP II a DEC minicomputer
pen-based computer a computer which uses a pointing device like a pen as an input device
performance the speed of a computer or computer system
peripheral an input or output device attached to a computer
peripheral bus the communications link to which peripherals are attached
physical record the collection of data transferred as a unit
pirate v use software that has been copied in breach of copyright
pixel an individual dot on a computer screen. The computer controls the colour and brightness of each pixel.
PL/I programming language I. A programming language developed by the US IBM users' group. implementing the best features of COBOL, FORTRAN. and ALGOL.
platform a generic term for different types of computer system (e.g. PC. Mac. workstation, etc.)
plotter an output device for translating information from a computer into pictorial or graphical form on paper or a similar medium
plug-(and-play) compatibility the ability to connect one manufacturer's hardware directly to another manufacturer's hardware
port a connection point that allows I/O devices to be connected to the internal bus of a microprocessor
portable describing programs which can run on a variety of hardware or under a variety of operating systems
portable (computer) 1) the generic term for any microcomputer that is designed to be carried around 2) the largest type of computer designed to be carried around. It must be connected to the mains electricity supply. Other smaller types include laptops, notebooks, clipboards, and palmtops (or personal organizers). These have an internal power source.
primary memory see internal memory
printer an output device which changes output data into printed form
printout the printed pages which are output from a computer
print-to-tape device a device which allows computer-generated images to be recorded to video for play-back on a TV monitor
processing the performing of arithmetic or logical operations on information which has been input to a computer
processor see CPU
program a list of instructions which are used by the computer to perform the user's requirements
programmer someone who writers computer programs
programming the act of writing a computer program
programming language] a notation for the precise description of computer programs
proprietary describing a protocol or standard developed and owned by a particular manufacturer
protocol an agreement that covers the procedures used to exchange information between cooperating entities
PTT Postal, Telegraph, and Telephone Administration, the national government communications organization of many countries
public database a database which is accessible over a public network
Query a request for information from a database
radiation screen a screen placed in front of a VDU to protect a user from possibly harmful radiation from the screen
RAM random-access memory: this is memory which can be read and written to. The basic element is a single cell capable of storing one bit of information. Each cell has a unique address in memory and so can be accessed in random order.
raw data] data which has not been interpreted
real-time program a program that interacts with the users in such a way that the timing of the interaction is significant. This is usually because the input corresponds to some movement in the physical world and the output has to relate to the same movement.
record a collection of data handled together in movements to and from storage. Files held in storage are frequently treated as sequences of records.
refresh rate see vertical refresh rate
register a group of devices that are used to store information within a computer for high-speed access. Some registers may be used as counters.
relational operator 1 a symbol representing an operation that compares two values and returns a truth value. Operators include “greater than...”, “equal to...”, and “less than...”.
remote device a device connected over a WAN
repetitive-strain injury a medical condition apparently caused by using a keyboard in an inappropriate position. The symptoms are that the muscles in the lower arm and fingers may seize up.
response the elapsed time between an action by a computer system and the receipt of some form of response from the system
ring network a network constructed as a loop of unidirectional links between nodes
robot a programmable device consisting of mechanical manipulators and sensory organs. The main
goal of robotics research is to provide the robot with an artificial eye and to use visual perception to guide a mechanical arm in a flexible manner.
robotics a discipline (lying across the border between artificial intelligence and mechanical engineering) which is concerned with building robots
ROM read-only memory: this is memory used for storage of data that cannot ever be modified. The memory contents are permanently built into the device when it is manufactured.
RS/6000 a model of IBM computer which is UNIX based
RSI repetitive-strain injury
satellite in communications technology, a man-made device in orbit round the Earth used to relay back telephone messages or radio and TV signals from another part of the Earth
scan n a scanned image
scan v process a document through a scanner
scan converter a device for converting the vertical refresh rate of video signals (50 kHz) to the vertical refresh rate of 60kHz or more used by computer systems
scanner n an input device which reads images on paper using a photoelectric cell and produces a computer graphic file as output. The image scanned may be a bar code, a picture, or a piece of text.
scan rate see vertical refresh rate
scramble v jumble up a string so that it can only be read after decoding
screen the part of a visual display unit on which the program, data, and graphics may be seen
secondary memory storage space which is outside the main memory of the computer. It can be in the form of either sequential tapes or random-access disks.
security reporting feature of a security system which reports, to an administrator, attempted breaches to the security of a system
security system a system which controls access to a computer and maintains the security of that computer
semiconductor a material whose electrical conductivity increases with temperature and is intermediate between metals and insulators
sensor n an electronic device to detect movement
sequence control register a register which controls the sequence in which operations are performed by the computer
sequential device a device such as a magnetic tape drive which permits information to be written to or read from in a fixed sequence only
serial describing the transfer of data one bit at a time. Control signals are also passed in sequence with the data.
service technician an engineer who repairs computers
session /'se|n/ a period during which two computers are linked
shared-line] describing the use of a telephone line to transmit more than one set of data at a time
shield n see virus shield
signal lines cables over which a computer control signal and data may be passed
signature see virus signature
sign off log off a computer system
sign up log on to a computer system
silicon a non-metallic element with semiconductor characteristics
Silicon Valley area of California where there are many computer technology companies
slot see expansion slot
Smalltalk] an object-oriented language, an object-oriented environment, and a library of objects first developed at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Centre
smart card a card containing a microchip which can be used to store large amounts of information
software a general term for any computer program(s)
software base the collection of applications written for a particular hardware and software environment
software developer someone who writes software
software house a company that specializes in writing application software
software package a series of programs written for a generic application, e.g. a payroll package, which can be adapted by the user to meet individual needs
source file sec source program
source program the original high-level language program which has to be converted to machine code before it may be executed
spell check dictionary a list of correctly spelt words used by word-processing software to validate the spelling in a document
spooling the process of storing output temporarily on disk or tape until it is ready to be printed
spreadsheet a program that manipulates tables consisting of rows and columns of cells and displays them on a screen. The value in a numerical cell is either typed in or is calculated from values in other cells. Each time the value of a cell is changed the values of dependent cells are recalculated.
SQL structured query language
standard a publicly available definition of a hardware or software component resulting from national, international, or industry agreement
star network a simple network topology with all links connected directly to a single central node
statement terminator a special character which indicates the end of a statement in a programming language
string a sequence of bytes
structured programming a method of programming development that makes extensive use of abstraction in order to factorize the problem and give increased confidence that the resulting program is correct
structured query language a high-level language for writing routines to query relational databases. Originally developed by IBM in 19 7 3, it is now an ANSI standard.
style sheet a word-processing software feature that ensures a uniform style within a document
stylus an electronic I/O device that is used to draw or write on the screen
subprogram a small program called by another program to perform a specific function
support group a group of staff who are specialists in a particular piece of software
switched network a network topology in which a central switching device is used to connect devices directly
synchronous 1 taking place at precisely the same time 2 involving a type of computer control whereby sequential events take place at fixed times
synchronous orbit satellitea satellite that orbits the Earth at a controlled speed so that it maintains its position in relation to the Earth
system board the main circuit board of a computer containing the microprocessor chip. Other devices will be attached to this board.
systems analysis the activity performed by an analyst
systems analyst see analyst
systems manager a person responsible for the management and administration of a computer system
systems program a program written for a particular type of hardware. Examples are operating systems and compilers. They are usually provided by the manufacturer.
systems routine utility programs provided by the computer operating system. These might be used for converting numerical data into different formats, or performing operations on dates.
systems software see systems program
table used to refer to data held in a database in a conceptual schema which is a flat two-dimensional table
table of contents a word-processing software feature which can automatically generate a table of contents for a document
tag a code used in word processing or DTP to denote a feature of a document, such as bold type, the start of a paragraph, or an index word
tape drive a device on which a magnetic tape is mounted in order that information may be transmitted from the tape to the memory of the computer or vice versa
template a pre-shaped pattern used as a guide
terminal a VDU screen and keyboard used to interact with a computer, usually with no computing capacity of its own
test suite a set of sentences or phrases in a given language designed to test the effectiveness of a machine translation system
token a unique sequence of bits granting permission to a user to send on a network
transaction a logical unit of work for a database
transaction processing systema system which processes the operational transactions of an organization
transistor a semiconductor device having three terminals that are attached to electrode regions within the device
transmission the sending of a message
transmitter a device for sending a radio message
trigger v set a process in motion
turnkey describing a system in which hardware and software have been delivered by the supplier so that the whole system can be put to immediate use
type declaration statement see declaration statement
UNIX an operating system originally developed by Bell laboratories in 1971 for DEC PDP 11 minicomputers. UNIX has become very popular and is now implemented on a wide range of hardware.
update v modify data held by a computer system
upgrade n] a later version of software
upgrade v] replace or modernize software with a later version of the same software
user an individual or group making use of the output of a computer system
user-friendly describing interactive systems that arc designed to make the user's task as easy as possible by providing feedback
user interface the means of communicating between a human being and a computer
utility program the collection of programs that form part of every computer system and provide a variety of generally useful functions
variable a string of characters used to denote a value stored within a computer which may be changed during execution
VDU visual display unit: the screen of a computer terminal or PC
vertical refresh rate the number of times per second that an image is written on a TV or computer screen, measured in kilohertz
VGAvideo graphics array: a standard for colour monitors developed by IBM for their PS/2 range of PCs
virtual reality an attempt to create an artificial world within a computer in which the user can (apparently) move about. This is usually achieved by the user wearing a helmet which covers the eyes and ears and sends visual and oral signals to the user. Special gloves allow the user to manipulate computer-generated items.
virtual storage when disks are connected to a computer and used as an extension of internal memory in order to increase the capacity of primary storage
virus a self-replicating program, usually designed to damage the system on which it lands
virus checking program a program that is used to detect the presence of a virus in memory or on disk
virus scanner a program that detects viruses which have already infected a computer
virus shield a program that detects viruses as they attempt to infect the computer
virus signature the particular features of each computer virus that enable it to be recognized
voice recognition the technology that allows a computer to interpret human speech. This is a part of artificial intelligence studies.
voltmeter a meter for measuring voltage
VR virtual reality
WAN wide area network
war game computer game which emulates warfare
wide area network a network linking nodes over long distances
window a type of graphical user interface. Separate tasks are represented by a rectangular portion of the screen called a window. A window may display a menu, and an option on the menu is selected by use of a mouse.
word processing the use of a computer to compose documents with facilities to edit, re-format, store, and print documents with maximum flexibility
work scheduling the process of allocating computer resources between different programs running on a multi-tasking computer
workstation a powerful single-user computer, usually attached to a network
worm an entirely self-replicating virus which is not hardware dependent
write-protect tab a notch on a floppy disk which may be covered to prevent the disk being written to
Коняшина Ольга Васильевна
Для студентов специальностей 090305 «Информационная безопасность
всех форм обучения
Редактор Н.Р. Подобедова
Компьютерный набор и верстка О.В. Коняшина, Н.Р. Подобедова
Подписано в печать 22.03.2012. Формат 60 ´ 84 1/8. Бумага для офисной техники.
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Воронежский государственный промышленно-гуманитарный колледж (ВГПГК)
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Адрес колледжа и участка оперативной полиграфии:
394000 г. Воронеж, пр. Революции, 20
 printing― (in this case) writing separated letters or numbers by hand.
 kanji― Japanese script which uses Chinese characters.
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