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Computing Keywords

Definitions of 250 computer science keywords

TermDefinition
Hardware The physical items within a computer system (keyboard, mouse etc)
Computer architecture The internal logical structure and organisation of computer hardware
Binary A system of numbers using only 0's and 1's (base 2)
Denary A system of numbers using ten digits, 0 and 1-9 (also called base-10 system)
CPU Central Processing Unit of the computer containing the control unit, ALU and cache memory
Control Unit The control unit works with the CPU to control the flow of data within the system
ALU The ALU performs all the arithmetic and logical operations within the CPU
RAM Random Access Memory - Main memory of the a computer that stores data, applications and the operating system whilst in use. When the power is turned off RAM loses its data
Cache Memory Special high speed memory used by a computer
Flash Memory Solid-state memory used as low cost secondary storage in portable devices and as removable memory
Solid State Technology based on electronics with no moving parts, for example transistors and capacitors as used in memory chips.
Secondary Storage Non-volatile storage used to store programs and files that need to be kept even when the power is not on.
Fetch-execute cycle This is the process of fetching the instgructions from memory, decoding them and then executing them so that the CPU performs continuously
ROM Read Only Memory A store for data in a computer that cannot be overwritten. Data in ROM is always available and is not lost when the computer is turned off
Clock chip The electronic device in a computer that controls the timing of signals
Bus A part of the computer architecture that transfers data and signals between the components of the computer
Motherboard The central printed circuit board (PCB) that holds the crucial components of the system
Dual-core / quad-core A CPU with multiple processors
Bit Binary digit 0 or 1
Byte 8 bits
Kilobyte 1024 bytes
Volatile Data Data that is lost when there is no power
Non-volatile Data retained even when the power is off
Virtual Memory A section of the hard disk used as if it were RAM to supplement the amount of main memory available to the computer. Used when there is not enough main memory to run the programs required.
Logic Gates A circuit that produces an out based on the inputs…
NOT A logic gate that outputs the opposite value to the input
AND A logic gate that outputs 1 if both inputs are 1
OR A logic gate that outputs 1 if either or both of the two inputs are 1
Truth table A method for recording all the possible input combinations and working out the output.
Logic Circuit A circuit make by combining a sequence of logic gates
Boolean algebra A method for expressing mathematically a logic circuit
Input device A hardware device used to input data into a computer
Keyboard A hardware device that uses labelled keys to enable data input into a computer
Mouse A hardware device that controls the movement of a pointer on screen, based on its own movement, and allows the user to select an object by pressing a button
Touch screen A touch sensitive surface that allows the user to select control of move objects by touching icons and symbols using fingers
Microphone A hardware device for capturing sound
Camera A hardware device for capturing still or moving images
Bar code A pattern of thin and thick lines representing a number that can be scanned by a reader for input into a computer system
RFID Radio frequency identification uses radio frequences to repsent a number that can be scanned into a computer system
Sensor A device that can detect physical conditions such as temperature, weight, light, sound etc.
Monitor A device that can display images and text
Printer A device to produce physical copies of output from a computer system
Speaker A device to output sound
Actuator A device to produce physical movement based on output from a computer system
Optical Disk Secondary Storage device using lasers to read(and write) data to a reflective surface. For storing files or for backing up
CD A type of optical device with a capacity of 700 MB
DVD A type of optical device with a capacity of 4.7 GB
Smart Phone A phone offering advanced features, e.g. ability to send emails, surf the internet
Multifunctional Having the ability to do many different things using the same device
SD & SDHC cards One type of flash memory card which store data - SD up to 2GB SDHC up to 32GB(ideal for video)
File Format The particular code that a file is stored in. Different software and devices use different formats, which can cause problems if a device cannot decode the information
Compatible The ability of a device to communicate and share information with another device.
Public Domain Materials that are available for anyone to use for any purpose (not subject to laws of copyright)
Future Proofing Anticipating future developments when you buy something in the hope that it will not go out of date quickly. Future proofing can be expensive, as buying something top of the range will cost more than if you wait a short while
Real Time The actual time during which something takes place, without noticeable delays.
Emoticon The use of icons or text to portray mood or facial expressions e.g. =) is happy =( is sad
Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) The technology is used to make phone calls via the internet, usually at a cheaper cost
3G 3rd generation wireless communication allows high-speed wireless data transfer
Latency The time delay between the moment something is initiated and the moment it becomes detectable
internet Service Provider (ISP) A company that provides Internet access to its customers
Social networking site an online community where people can communicate and share information
Link Allows users to navigate around a product. By clicking a link, the user can 'jump' to a new screen
Blog Short for 'web log', a shared online journal where people can post diary entries about their personal experiences and hobbies.
Browser A software application for retrieving, presenting and navigating information resources on the World Wide Web
Spam Unwanted or junk email sent to lots of recipients at the same time
Protocol A set of rules used by computers to communicate with each other across a network. Without these computers would not be able to communicate effectively
Personal Learning Learning that is tailored towards the individual to allow them to make progress
Collaboratively Working together with other people
Information overload Having so much information available that the user feels overwhelmed and is unable to take any of it in, possibly leading to stress.
Plagiarism Copying someone else's work and presenting it as your own
Virus A program designed to cause other programs on a computer to malfunction or stop working altogether
Fraud Tricking someone for personal gain or to damage them
Peer-to-peer (P2P) Sharing files among groups of people who are logged on to a file-sharing network
Hacker Someone who gains unauthorised access to a computer in order to obtain data stored on it
Identity theft A crime that involved someone pretending to be another person in order to steal money or obtain other benefits.
E-commerce Buying and selling goods electronically, usually over the internet
Globalisation The increasing integration of economies and societies around the world, particularly through international trade.
Hardware The physical parts of a computer system e.g. CPU, RAM, CD Drive.
Microchip A miniature electronic circuit used to control computers and most other electronic devices
Biometrics An automated method of recognising a person based on physical characteristics. Among the features measured are face, fingerprints, hand geometry, iris and voice
Netbook A small portable laptop computer designed for wireless communication and access to the internet
Universal Serial Bus (USB) A standard method of connecting devices such as keyboard and printers to computers
Flash memory card This memory is known as Solid State Storage Device, meaning there is no moving parts. Everything is electronic instead of mechanical and so it is ideal for mobile phones.
Cyber cafe A cafe or coffee shop that has a number of personal computers connected to the internet and available for the use by customers. Most charge by the hour or fraction of an hour
Hotspot A venue that offers a Wi-Fi internet connection. Many are located in hotels and restaurants and lots of them are free.
Cloud Computing A system in which all computer programs and data is stored on a central server owned by a company (e.g. Google) and accessed virtually
Web application (Web App) Any application that can be accessed using a web browser. The application can be as simple as a message board or guest sign-in page on a website, or as complex as a spreadsheet.
Sat Nav A device , usually used in the car, that gives directions based on information received a series of satellites.
Convergence When one device is developed to carry out functions that where originally performed by several different devices.
Metadata Provides information about the content of a digital item, e.g. Each digital image from a digital camera has a file attached listing such things as data, time, camera and shutter speed.
Geotag To attach the exact geographical coordinates of longitude and latitude to a digital image, giving the location of where it was taken
Created by: ijennings