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Computing fundamentals

Terms related to computer fundamentals, including computer hardware definitions and words and phrases about software, operating systems, peripherals and troubleshooting.

STA - URL

  • stack - TCP/IP is frequently referred to as a "stack.
  • standard - A standard is a generally agreed-upon technology, method or format for a given application.
  • standards organization - A standards organization, sometimes referred to as a standards body, is an organization with authority to endorse official standards for given applications.
  • standby power - Standby power is electrical power that a device consumes when not in present use, but plugged in to a source of power and ready to be used.
  • state machine - In general, a state machine is any device that stores the status of something at a given time and can operate on input to change the status and/or cause an action or output to take place for any given change.
  • statistical mean, median, mode and range - Calculating the mean, median, mode and range of a set of numbers allows you to track changes over time and set acceptable ranges and variance.
  • STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) - STEM is an educational program developed to prepare primary and secondary students for college and graduate study in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
  • steradian - The steradian (symbolized sr) is the Standard International (SI) unit of solid angular measure.
  • stereoscopy (stereoscopic imaging) - Stereoscopy, sometimes called stereoscopic imaging, is a technique used to enable a three-dimensional effect, adding an illusion of depth to a flat image.
  • stickiness - Stickiness is anything about a Web site that encourages a visitor to stay longer.
  • storage (computer storage) - Data storage is the collective methods and technologies that capture and retain digital information on electromagnetic, optical or silicon-based storage media.
  • storage consolidation - Storage consolidation, also called storage convergence is a method of centralizing data storage among multiple servers.
  • storage filer - A storage filer is a file server designed and programmed for high-volume data storage, backup, and archiving.
  • storage medium (storage media) - In computers, a storage medium is any technology -- including devices and materials -- used to place, keep and retrieve electronic data.
  • storage utilization - Storage utilization is a measure of how well the available data storage space in an enterprise is used.
  • storage volume - A definition of volume must include a comparison of the unit of data storage to a partition, as well as insight into logical volume management, a form of storage virtualization.
  • straw man - In general, a straw man is an object, document, person, or argument that temporarily stands in for and is intended to be "knocked down" by something more substantial.
  • streaming media - Streaming media is video or audio content sent in compressed form over the Internet and played immediately, rather than being saved to the hard drive.
  • subset symbol - The subset symbol indicates a specific relationship between two sets.
  • suffix - A suffix is something added at the end of a word that conditions its usage or meaning.
  • summation (sum) - A summation, also called a sum, is the result of arithmetically adding numbers or quantities.
  • Sun Microsystems - Sun Microsystems (often just called "Sun"), the leading company in computers used as Web servers, also makes servers designed for use as engineering workstations, data storage products, and related software.
  • supercomputer - The first commercially successful supercomputer, the CDC (Control Data Corporation) 6600 was designed by Seymour Cray.
  • supercomputer center - In general, a supercomputer center is a site with a supercomputer that is shared by a number of other sites, usually research sites.
  • superposition - Superposition is the ability of a quantum system to be in multiple states at the same time until it is measured.
  • superstring theory (string theory, Theory of Everything) - Superstring theory - known less formally as "string theory" - is sometimes called the Theory of Everything (TOE), because it is a unifying physics theory that reconciles the differences between quantum theory and the theory of relativity to explain the nature of all known forces and matter.
  • support - In information technology, support refers to functionality that is provided between or among products, programs, devices, modes, or accessories.
  • surd - A surd is a number or quantity that cannot be expressed as the ratio of two integer s.
  • surf - In using the World Wide Web, to surf is to either: Explore a sequence of Web sites in a random, unplanned way, or2) Simply use the Web to look for something in a questing way.
  • symbology - A symbology is a protocol for arranging the bars and spaces that make up a particular kind of bar code.
  • symmetric communications - Compare asymmetric communications.
  • synchronicity - Synchronicity is a concept developed by psychologist Carl Jung to describe a perceived meaningful coincidence.
  • synchronous - In general, synchronous (pronounced SIHN-kro-nuhs, from Greek syn-, meaning "with," and chronos, meaning "time") is an adjective describing objects or events that are coordinated in time.
  • system - A system is a collection of elements or components that are organized for a common purpose.
  • system administrator (sysadmin) - In information technology (IT), a system administrator (sysadmin) is a person who supports a multi-user computing environment and ensures continuous, optimal performance of IT services and support systems.
  • system software - System software is a type of computer program that is designed to run a computer’s hardware and application programs.
  • systems thinking - Systems thinking is a holistic approach to analysis that focuses on the way that a system's constituent parts interrelate and how systems work over time and within the context of larger systems.
  • table - In computer programming, a table is a data structure used to organize information, just as it is on paper.
  • Table of Physical Constants - Quick look-up chart.
  • talk time - In customer relationship management (CRM), talk time is the amount of time a call center agent spends with a caller during a transaction.
  • Tamagotchi - A Tamagotchi (pronounced "tom-ah-GOT-chee") is a relatively inexpensive toy containing a small liquid crystal display display, a few touch-sensitive user controls, and a program in which the image of a small creature is visible.
  • taxonomy - Taxonomy is the science of classification according to a predetermined system, with the resulting catalog being used to provide a conceptual framework for discussion or analysis.
  • TCO (total cost of ownership) - Total cost of ownership is a calculation to assess direct and indirect expenses and benefits related to the purchase of a product or infrastructure component.
  • teach box - A teach box is a device that registers and memorizes mechanical motions or processes for later recall and execution by an electronic or computer system.
  • tebibyte (TiB) - A tebibyte (TiB) is a unit of measure used to describe computing capacity.
  • technical requirements - Technical requirements, in the context of software development and systems engineering, are the factors required to deliver a desired function or behavior from a system to satisfy a user’s standards and needs.
  • techno-fiend - In information technology, a techno-fiend is someone who is addicted to finding out and knowing how things work in one or more aspects of cyberspace.
  • technological convergence - Technological convergence is a term that describes the layers of abstraction that enable different technologies to interoperate efficiently as a converged system.
  • telecommuting - Telecommuting is an arrangement to work outside the traditional office or workplace, usually at home or in a mobile situation.
  • telepresence - Telepresence is a sophisticated form of robotic remote control in which a human operator has a sense of being in a remote location so that the experience resembles virtual reality (VR).
  • Terabyte (TB) - A Terabyte (TB) is a measure of computer storage capacity that is approximately 2 to the 40th power, or 10 to the 12th power, which equals approximately a trillion bytes.
  • teraflop - A teraflop is a measure of a computer's speed and can be expressed as: A trillion floating point operations per second 10 to the 12th power floating-point operations per second 2 to the 40th power flops Today's fastest parallel computing operations are capable of teraflop speeds.
  • term boosting - Term boosting is the ability to assign higher importance to specific words in a search engine query.
  • text - In information technology, text is a human-readable sequence of characters and the words they form that can be encoded into computer-readable formats such as ASCII.
  • thang - A thang, a jargon variant of "thing" based on regional U.
  • The speed of end-user and backbone transmission technologies - This table shows the stated data rates for the most important end-user and backbone transmission technologies.
  • theory of relativity - Albert Einstein's theory of relativity is actually two separate theories: his special theory of relativity, postulated in the 1905 paper, The Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies and his theory of general relativity, an expansion of the earlier theory, published as The Foundation of the General Theory of Relativity in 1916.
  • thin-film transistor (TFT) - A display screen made with TFT (thin-film transistor) technology is a liquid crystal display (LCD), common in notebook and laptop computers, that has a transistor for each pixel (that is, for each of the tiny elements that control the illumination of your display).
  • thing (in the Internet of Things) - A thing, in the context of the Internet of things (IoT), is an entity or physical object that has a unique identifier, an embedded system and the ability to transfer data over a network.
  • thread-safe - In computer programming, thread-safe describes a program portion or routine that can be called from multiple programming threads without unwanted interaction between the threads.
  • throughput - Throughput is a term used in information technology that indicates how many units of information can be processed in a set amount of time.
  • TIFF (Tag Image File Format) - TIFF (Tag Image File Format) is a common format for exchanging raster graphics (bitmap) images between application programs, including those used for scanner images.
  • tilde - A tilde (pronounced TILL-duh or TILL-dee) looks like this: ~.
  • Tim Berners-Lee - Tim Berners-Lee is the creator of the World Wide Web and director of the coordinating body for Web development, the W3C.
  • time - Time is an observed phenomenon, by means of which human beings sense and record changes in the environment and in the universe.
  • timeshifting - Timeshifting is the process of recording and storing data for later viewing, listening, or reading.
  • tipping point - The tipping point is the critical point in an evolving situation that leads to a new and irreversible development.
  • token - In general, a token is an object that represents something else, such as another object (either physical or virtual), or an abstract concept as, for example, a gift is sometimes referred to as a token of the giver's esteem for the recipient.
  • toolbar - In the graphical user interface (GUI) for a computer, a toolbar is a horizontal row or vertical column of selectable image "buttons" that give the user a constantly visible reminder of and an easy way to select certain desktop or other application functions, such as saving or printing a document or moving pages forwards or backwards within a Web browser.
  • torque - Torque is a twisting or turning force that tends to cause rotation around an axis; it can also be thought of as the ability of something that is rotating, such as a gear or a shaft, to overcome turning resistance.
  • Total Quality Management (TQM) - Total Quality Management is a management framework based on the belief that an organization can build long-term success by having all its members, from low-level workers to its highest ranking executives, focus on quality improvement and, thus, delivering customer satisfaction.
  • transcendental number - A transcendental number is a real number that is not the solution of any single-variable polynomial equation whose coefficients are all integers.
  • transcription error - A transcription error is a specific type of data entry error that is commonly made by human operators or by optical character recognition (OCR) programs.
  • transition ad - A transition ad is a Web page containing a commercial message that appears temporarily between two other Web pages.
  • transparent - In computers, transparent means something a little different than its general meaning of having the quality of being easily seen through, coming closer to meaning invisible or undetectable.
  • transparent computing - Transparent computing is a characteristic of pervasive computing, the possible future state in which we will be surrounded by computers everywhere in the environment that respond to our needs without our conscious use.
  • transparent GIF - A transparent GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) is an image file that has one color assigned to be "transparent" so that the assigned color will be replaced by the browser's background color, whatever it may be.
  • tree network - In telecommunication networks, a tree network is a combination of two or more star networks connected together.
  • trigraph - A trigraph is a three-character replacement for a special or nonstandard character in a text file.
  • trinary - Trinary logic is three-level digital logic, with states represented by the numbers -1, 0, and 1.
  • true multitasking - True multitasking is the capacity of an operating system to carry out two or more tasks simultaneously rather than switching from one task to another.
  • trusted execution environment (TEE) - A trusted execution environment (TEE) is an area on the main processor of a device that is separated from the system’s main operating system (OS) to ensure that sensitive data can be stored and managed in a secure environment.
  • truth table - A truth table is a breakdown of a logic function by listing all possible values the function can attain.
  • Turing Test - A Turing Test is a method of inquiry in artificial intelligence (AI) for determining whether or not a computer is capable of thinking like a human being.
  • turnkey - Turnkey is a product or service that is designed, supplied, built, or installed fully complete and ready to operate.
  • twip (twentieth of a point) - A twip (twentieth of a point) is a measure used in laying out space or defining objects on a page or other area that is to be printed or displayed on a computer screen.
  • ultra-mobile personal computer (UMPC or Ultra-mobile PC) - Ultra-mobile PC (UMPC) is a design specification for a hand-held computer that is larger than a PDA but smaller than a laptop.
  • ultrabook - An ultrabook is a category of thin and light laptop computers designed to bridge the market gap between tablets and premium notebook PCs.
  • unary - The term unary defines operators in Boolean (binary) algebra, trinary algebra, arithmetic, and set theory.
  • uncertainty principle - The uncertainty principle is the concept that precise, simultaneous measurement of some complementary variables -- such as the position and momentum of a subatomic particle -- is impossible.
  • uncompressing (or decompressing) - Uncompressing (or decompressing) is the act of expanding a compression file back into its original form.
  • Undernet - For terms frequently used in online keyboard chatting, see chat acronyms/IRC/BBS.
  • unified field theory or Theory of Everything (TOE) - Unified field theory is sometimes called the Theory of Everything (TOE, for short): the long-sought means of tying together all known phenomena to explain the nature and behavior of all matter and energy in existence.
  • union symbol - The union symbol () denotes the union of two set s.
  • unique identifier (UID) - A unique identifier (UID) is a numeric or alphanumeric string that is associated with a single entity within a given system.
  • universal constructor - A universal constructor is a device that can self-replicate - that is, make copies of itself.
  • unzipping - Unzipping is the act of extracting the files from a zipped single file or similar file archive.
  • upgrade - In computers, an upgrade is a new version of or addition to a hardware or, more often, software product that is already installed or in use.
  • UpperCamelCase - UpperCamelCase (part of CamelCase) is a naming convention in which a name is formed of multiple words that are joined together as a single word with the first letter of each of the multiple words capitalized within the new word that forms the name.
  • uptime and downtime - Uptime is a computer industry term for the time during which a computer is operational.

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