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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

Access request

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 input/output

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)

Mb megabyte

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 [1] 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

shieldv protect

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



Учебное издание



Коняшина Ольга Васильевна






Для студентов специальностей 090305 «Информационная безопасность
автоматизированных систем», 230101 «Вычислительные машины, комплексы,
системы и сети», 230106 «Техническое обслуживание средств
вычислительной техники и сетей», 230111 «Компьютерные сети»,
230113 «Компьютерные системы и комплексы»

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.

Гарнитура Таймс. Цифровая печать. Усл. печ. л. 15, 0. Уч.-изд. л. 7, 13. Тираж 30 экз.

Воронежский государственный промышленно-гуманитарный колледж (ВГПГК)

Учебно-производственный участок оперативной полиграфии ВГПГК

Адрес колледжа и участка оперативной полиграфии:

394000 г. Воронеж, пр. Революции, 20

[1] printing― (in this case) writing separated letters or numbers by hand.


[2] kanji― Japanese script which uses Chinese characters.



[3] c



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