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CHAPTER 1-3 Definitions

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University of Windsor
Computer Science

CHAPTER 1DEFINITION  Digital revolution: A set of significant changes brought about by computers and other digital devices during the second half of the 20th century.  Digitization To convert non digital information or media to a digital format through the use of a scanner, sampler, or other input device.  Data processing An input processing- output cycle that converts data into information.  Local software Computer applications that are installed on and run from a local device, usually a computer hard drive.  Computer network A collection of computers and related devices, connected in a way that allows them to share data, hardware, and software.  Internet The worldwide communication infrastructure that links computer networks using the TCP/IP protocol.  Web Short for World Wide Web; an Internet service that links documents and information from computers located worldwide, using the HTTP protocol.  Cloud computing A type of computing in which local devices access applications that run on a remote server, where data can also be stored.  Convergence In the context of technology, the melding of digital devices into a single platform that handles a diverse array of digital content, such as cell phones that also play digital music and display digital video.  Social media Online Web sites and services, such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, that help users create content and share it with others.  Intellectual property A legal concept that refers to ownership of intangible information, such as ideas  Open source An approach to developing and licensing software in which source code remains public so it can be improved and freely distributed.  Globalization A group of social, economic, political, and technological interdependencies linking people and institutions from all areas of the world.  Digital divide A gap between those who have access to digital technologies and those who do not.  Computer A device that accepts input, processes data, stores data, and produces output according to a stored program.  Input As a noun, the information that is conveyed to a computer. As a verb, to enter data into a computer.  Output The results produced by a computer (for example, reports, graphs, and music).  CPU (central processing unit)The main processing circuitry within a computer or chip that contains the ALU, control unit, and registers.  Microprocessor An integrated circuit that contains the circuitry for processing data. It is a single- chip version of the central processing unit (CPU) found in all computers.  Memory The computer circuitry that holds data waiting to be processed.  Storage The area in a computer where data is retained on a permanent basis  File A named collection of data(such as a computer program, document, or graphic) that exists on a storage medium, such as a hard disk or CD  Computer program A detailed set of instructions that tells a computer how to solve a problem or carry out a task.  Software The instructions that direct a computer to perform a task, interact with a user, or process data.  Apps Short for applications; popularly used to refer to applications available for the iPhone, iPad, and other mobile devices.  System software Computer programs, such as an operating system or utility software that help the computer carry out essential operating tasks.  Operating system The software that controls the computer’s use of its hardware resources, such as memory and disk storage space. Also called OS.  Personal computer A microcomputer designed for use by an individual user for applications such as Web browsing and word processing.  Workstation (1) A computer connected to a local area network. (2) A powerful desktop computer designed for specific tasks.  Videogame console A computer specifically designed for playing games using a television screen and game controllers.  Client A computer or software that requests information from another computer or server.  Download The process of transferring a copy of a file from a remote computer to a local computer’s storage device.  Mainframe computer A large, fast, and expensive computer generally used by businesses or government agencies to provide centralized storage, processing, and management for large amounts of data.  Supercomputer The fastest and most expensive type of computer, capable of processing trillions of instructions per second.  Handheld computer A small,portable device such as a smartphone or enhanced media player that allows users to install apps and store data.  Data representation The use of electronic signals, marks, or binary digits to represent character, numeric, visual, or audio data.  Digital data Text, numbers, graphics, or sound represented by discrete digits, such as 1s and 0s  Analog data Data that is measured or represented on a continuously varying scale, such as a dimmer switch or a watch with a sweep second hand.  Numeric data Numbers that represent quantities and can be used in arithmetic operations.  Binary number system A method for representing numbers using only two digits: 0 and 1. Contrast to the decimal number system, which uses ten digits: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9.  Byte An 8-bit unit of data that represents a single character.  Kilobyte (KB) Approximately 1,000 bytes; exactly 1,024 bytes.  Megabyte (MB) Approximately 1 million bytes; exactly 1,048,576 bytes.  Gigabyte (GB) Approximately 1 billion bytes; exactly 1,024 megabytes (1,073,741,824 bytes).  Integrated circuit (IC) A thin slice of silicon crystal containing microscopic circuit elements such as transistors, wires, capacitors, and resistors; also called chips and microchips.  System board The main circuit board in a computer that houses chips and other electronic components.  Programming language A set of keywords and grammar (syntax) that allows a programmer to write instructions that a computer can execute.  Source code Computer instructions written in a highlevel language.  Compiler Software that translates a program written in a high-level language into lowlevel instructions before the program is executed.  Object code The low-level instructions that result from compiling source code.  Instruction set The collection of instructions that a CPU is designed to process.  Machine language A low-level language written in binary code that the computer can execute directly.  Machine code Program instructions written in binary code that the computer can execute directly.  ALU (Arithmetic Logic Unit) The part of the CPU that performs arithmetic and logical operations on the numbers stored in its registers.  Instruction cycle The steps followed by a computer to process a single instruction: fetch, interpret, execute, then increment the instruction pointer.  Authentication protocol Passwords, user IDs, and biometric measures used to verify a person’s identity.  Biometrics The use of physical attributes, such as a fingerprint, to verify a person’s identity.  User ID A combination of letters and numbers that serves as a user’s “call sign” or identification. Also referred to as a user name.  Identity theft An illegal practicein which a criminal obtains enough information to masquerade as someone.  Dictionary attack A method of discovering a password by trying every word in an electronic dictionary.  Brute force attack A method of breaking encryption code by trying all possible encryption keys.  Sniffing In the context of computer hacking, a technique that uses packet sniffer software to capture packets as they are sent over a network.  Phishing An e-mail based scam that’s designed to fool users into revealing confidential information.  Keylogger A program, sometimes part of a Trojan horse, that records a person’s keystrokes, saves them, and then sends them to a system administrator or remote hacker. CHAPTER 2 DEFINITON  Peripheral device A component or equipment, such as a printer, that expands a computer’s input, output, or storage capabilities.  System unit The case or box that contains the computer’s power supply, storage devices, main circuit board, processor, and memory.  Desktop computer A computer that is small enough to fit on a desk and built around a single microprocessor chip.  Portable computer Any type of computer, such as a notebook computer, that runs on batteries and is designed to be carried from one location to another; also called a mobile computer.  Notebook computer A small, lightweight, portable computer that usually runs on batteries. Sometimes called a laptop.  Netbook A scaled-down version of a standard clamshell- style notebook computer. Sometimes called a mini laptop.  PC platform A family of personal computers that use Windows software and contain Intel-compatible microprocessors.  Mac platform A family or category of Macintosh-compatible personal computers designed and manufactured by Apple Computer.  Linux platform A computer that is running the Linux operating system.  Smartphone A cellular phone that has a high resolution color screen, a browser, and the ability to run apps.  Tablet computer A small, portable computer with a touch sensitive screen that can be used as a writing or drawing  Microprocessor clock A timing signal that sets the pace for executing instructions in a microprocessor.  Gigahertz (GHz) A measure of frequency equivalent to 1 billion cycles per second. 67  Multi-core processor A microprocessor that contains circuitry for more than one processing unit.  Megahertz (MHz) A measure of frequency equivalent to 1 million cycles per second. 68  Volatile A term that describes data (usually in RAM) that can exist only with a constant supply of power.  Dynamic RAM (DRAM) Random access memory that requires a power source to hold data; used as main memory on most computers  Virtual memory A computer’s use of hard disk storage to simulate RAM.  ROM (read-only memory) Refers to one or more integrated circuits that contain permanent instructions that the computer uses during the boot process.  ROM BIOS A small set of basic input/output system instructions stored in ROM.  EEPROM (electrically erasable programmable read-only memory) A type of non-volatile storage typically used in personal computers to store boot and BIOS data.  Storage medium The physical material used to store computer data, such as a floppy disk, a hard disk, or a CD- ROM.  Storage device A mechanical apparatus that records data to and retrieves data from a storage medium.  Magnetic storage A technology for recording data onto disks or tape by magnetizing particles of an oxide-based surface coating.  Hard disk drive A computer storage device that contains a large-capacity rigid storage surface sealed inside a drive case. Typically used as the primary storage device in personal computers.  Hard disk platter The component of a hard disk drive on which data is stored. It is a flat, rigid disk made of aluminum or glass and coated with a magnetic oxide.  Floppy disk A removable magnetic storage medium, typically 3.5" in size, with a capacity of 1.44 MB.  CD (compact disc) An optical storage medium used to store digital information. CD-ROMs are read only. CD-Rs and  CD-RWs can be used to record data.  DVD (digital video disc or digital versatile disc) An optical storage medium similar in appearance and technology to a CD but with higher storage capacity.  Blu-ray A high-capacity storage technology that stores up to 25 GB per layer on Blu-ray discs (BDs).  Optical storage A technology that records data as light and dark spots on a CD, DVD, or other optical media.  Pits Spots on a CD that are “burned” onto an optical storage medium to represent digital data.  Lands Non-pitted surface areas on a CD that represent digital data.  Read-only technology Storage media that can only be read from, but not recorded on.  Recordable technology
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