Important Computer Terminology

Artificial Intelligence (AI): Artificial Intelligence refers to the simulation of human intelligence in machines that are programmed to think like humans and mimic their actions. The term may also be applied to any machine that exhibits traits associated with a human mind such as learning and problem-solving.

Application Software: A set of one or more programs designed to solve a specific problem or do a specific task, such as pay calculation, processing of examination results, stores accounting and inventory control etc.

Anonymous FTP site: On the internet, a computer, which allows a user to log in with a username of anonymous and then a password, which is the user's e-mail address.

Asynchronous communication: Asynchronous communication is any type of communication where one person provides information, and then there is a time lag before the recipients take in the information and offer their responses.

Automated Teller Machine (ATM): An unattented machine used in banks, which allows a customer to deposit or withdraw cash by the use of an electronic card without the need to interact with a bank employee.

Batch Processing: The running of several computer programs one after another without the use need of a human operator to run each program individually.

Backup: Alternate facilities of programs, data files, hardware equipment, etc., which are used in case the original one is destroyed, lost, or fails to operate.

Backup File: A copy of a file, created as a safety precaution against loss of data caused due to corruption or inadvertent deletion of the original file.

Bandwidth: The range of frequencies available for data transmission. The wider the bandwidth of a communication system, the more data it can transmit in a given period of time.

Beta version: The version of a software, which is released to a selected set of users for testing, before its actual release.

Bar Codes: Representation of alphanumeric data by a combination of adjacent vertical lines (called bar) by varying their width and the spacing between them. A bar code reader is a scanner, which is used for reading (decoding) bar-coded data.

Bio-metric device: A device used for user authentication, which verifies some physical characteristic of a user, such as the person's appearance, fingerprints, hand geometry, voice, or signature.

Bit: Acronym for binary digit, which stands for one binary piece of information. This can be either 0 or 1.

Bitmap: A method of displaying graphic images on a monitor by altering the color of individual dots (pixels) on the coordinate system.

Broadband channel: Communication channels, which are capable of data transfer rates of 1 million baud (bits/second) or more. They are used to handle high volumes of data, and for high-speed computer to computer communication, or for simultaneous transmission of data to several different devices.

Browser: A software tool, which provides several navigation facilities to help users do Internet surfing easily and effectively.

Buffer: A small storage area used to store information on a temporary basis for compensating the difference in rates of flow of data between various computer devices. For example, when data flows from an I/O device to the CPU, it passes through a buffer.

Byte: A fixed number of adjacent bits, which represent a particular character or symbol. Normal a byte consists of eight bits.

C-band Transmission: The use of 4 GHz band of frequencies for transmission and re-transmission of microwave signals in a satellite communication system.

Client computer: In a client-server computing environment, a computer, which is used by an end-user to interact with the server computer. It runs client processes, which send service requests to the server.

Communication protocol: A set of rules and procedures established to interconnect and communicate between computers. It provides a method for orderly and efficient exchange of data by establishing rules for the proper interpretation of controls and data transmitted as raw bits and bytes.

Communication Satellite: A microwave relay station precisely positioned 36000 kms. above the equator with an orbit speed that exactly matches the earth's rotation speed. It is used for data transmission between any two randomly chosen points in a very very large area.

Compact Dist Read-only Memory (CD-ROM): A shiny, silver color metal disk having a storage capacity of about 650 Megabytes. It is so called, because of it's enormous storage capacity on a compact-size disk, and because it is a read-only storage medium.

Compiler: A translator program which translates a high level language program into its equivalent machine language program.

Cryptography: Cryptography is a method of protecting information and communications through the use of codes, so that only those for whom the information is intended can read and process it. The prefix "crypt-" means "hidden" or "vault" -- and the suffix "-graphy" stands for "writing." Cryptosystems use a set of procedures known as cryptographic algorithms, or ciphers, to encrypt and decrypt messages to secure communications among computer systems, devices such as smartphones, and applications. A cipher suite uses one algorithm for encryption, another algorithm for message authentication, and another for key exchange.

Data: A collection of facts in raw form, which become information after proper organization or processing.

Database: A collection of data files integrated and organized into a single comprehensive file system, which is arranged to minimize duplication of data, and to provide convenient access to information with in that system to satisfy a wide variety of user needs.

Data Base Management System (DBMS): A set of programs provided to facilitate the users in organizing, creating, deleting, updating, and manipulating their data in a database.

Database: A collection of data files integrated and organized into a single comprehensive file system, which is arranged to minimize duplication of data, and to provide convenient access to information within that system to satisfy a wide variety of user needs.

Database Software: A set of programs, which enables users to create a database, maintain it (add, delete and update its records), organize its data in desire fashion, and to selectively retrieve useful information from it.

Debugger: A software tool, which helps the programmer in debugging the logic of a program by allowing him/her to follow the program's execution step-by-step, and to display intermediate calculation results and field values whenever desired.

Disk: A flat, circular plate coated with a magnetic material on which data can be stored by magnetization of portions of the flat surface.

Distributed database: Seamless integration of multiple databases located on different computers. A distributed database management system functions in a manner that the multiple distributed databases managed by it appear as a single, centralized database to the end-users.

Dumb Terminal: A terminal, which has no local processing capability.

Dynamic RAM (DRAM):: A type of RAM, which uses as external circuitry to periodically "regenerate" or refresh the storage charge to retain the stored data.

Editor: A software used to interactively review and modify text materials and other program instructions.

Electronic Mail (Email): A service on the Internet, which allows an Internet user to send a mail(message) to another Internet user in any part of the world in a near real-time manner.

File Transfer Protocol (FTP): An application level protocol, which allows a user to move a file from one computer to another in a network environment.

Firewall: A software, which usually run on the proxy server of an organization, and controls the flow of incoming and outgoing messages from within an organization for providing better security to the organization.

Firmware: A sequence of instruction (software), which is substitute for hardware, and stored in read-only memory (ROM).

Flowchart: A pictorial representation, which uses predefined symbols to describe either the logic of a computer program (program flowchart), or the data flow and processing steps of a system (system flowchart).

Full duplex: A data transmission mode in which data signal can be transmitted between a source and a destination in both direction simultaneously.

Graphical User Interface (GUI): An interface for computer users, which provides icons (pictures) and menus (list of choices), which users can select with a mouse for telling the computer what they want it to do for them.

Half duple: A communication system in which data can be transmitted between a source and a destination in both directions, but only in one direction at a time.

Hypertext: Documents that are prepared by using special linking facility for easier electronic access and manipulation.

HyperText Markup Language (HTML): A powerful language used for creating hypertext documents.

HyperText Transport Protocol (HTTP): An Internet Protocol for interaction between the computers on the Internet.

Icon: A graphical object displayed on a visual display screen, which is used in place of words or phrases to allow users to select program options, when selected with a mouse ot other pointing device.

Information: Processed data obtained as the output of data processing. It is used by people to enhance understanding and to achieve specific purpose.

Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN): A telephonic system, which provides digital (not analog) telephone and data services.

Internet: A network of networks of computers, which links many different types of computers all over the world.

Internet Search Engine: An application available on the World Wide Web (WWW), which helps users locate the web sites containing useful information and references to such information.

Kilobytes (KB): Memory storage equal to 1024(210) bytes in a computer.

Landscape Mode: A mode of printing in which the printed lines are parallel to the longer edge of the paper.

Linker: A program, which is used to properly combine all the object program files (modules) of a software, and to convert them into the software's final executable form.

Local Area Network (LAN): A computer network, which interconnects computers and other peripheral devices within a limited geographical area of a few kilometres.

Macro: A sequence of frequently used operations, or keystrokes bundled together as a single command, or keystroke by software, so that the invocation of the single command or keystroke leads to the invocation of the operation/keystrokes in the specified sequence. This helps speed user interaction with the system.

Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR): The term magnetic ink character recognition (MICR) refers to the line of numbers that appears at the bottom of a Cheque. The MICR line is a group of three numbers, which are the Cheque number, account number, and bank routing number. The MICR number includes the magnetic ink character recognition line printed using technology that allows certain computers to read and process the printed information.

Optical Disk: An optical disk is any computer disk that uses optical storage techniques and technology to read and write data. It is a computer storage disk that stores data digitally and uses laser beams (transmitted from a laser head mounted on an optical disk drive) to read and write data.

Management Information Systems (MIS): A management information system (MIS) is a computer system consisting of hardware and software that serves as the backbone of an organization’s operations. An MIS gathers data from multiple online systems, analyzes the information, and reports data to aid in management decision-making.

Megabyte(MB): One megabyte is about 1 million bytes (or about 1024 kilobytes).

Random Access Memory (RAM): RAM is an acronym for random access memory, a type of computer memory that can be accessed randomly; that is, any byte of memory can be accessed without touching the preceding bytes. RAM is found in servers, PCs, tablets, smartphones and other devices, such as printers.

Volatile Memory: Volatile memory is a type of storage whose contents are erased when the system's power is turned off or interrupted. For example, RAM is volatile. When you are working on a document, it is kept in RAM, and if the computer loses power, your work will be lost.

Non-volatile memory: It is a term used to describe memory or storage that is saved regardless if the computer has power. It's also called persistent storage or permanent storage. An example of non-volatile memory and storage is a computer hard drive, flash memory, and ROM. Data stored on a hard drive remains there regardless if the drive has power, making it the best place to store your files. Non-volatile memory also stores your computer's time and system settings even when the power is off.

Multitasking: Multitasking means constantly switching between tasks, and sometimes that can destroy your productivity. Countless studies have been conducted to determine multitasking's impact on the brain and productivity.

Multiprocessing: Multiprocessing is an ability of a computer to use two or more processors for computer operations. With multiple processors, the computer performance can be significantly increased.

Multimedia: Multimedia is the field concerned with the computer-controlled integration of text, graphics, drawings, still and moving images (Video), animation, audio, and any other media where every type of information can be represented, stored, transmitted and processed digitally.

Multiplexing: Multiplexing is a technique used to combine and send the multiple data streams over a single medium. The process of combining the data streams is known as multiplexing and hardware used for multiplexing is known as a multiplexer. Multiplexing is achieved by using a device called Multiplexer (MUX) that combines n input lines to generate a single output line. Multiplexing follows many-to-one, i.e., n input lines and one output line.

Operating System (OS): An Operating System (OS) is an interface between a computer user and computer hardware. An operating system is a software which performs all the basic tasks like file management, memory management, process management, handling input and output, and controlling peripheral devices such as disk drives and printers.

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