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A451 Computer Systems and Programming

Mrs Krishnamoorthy Northfleet School for Girls 1


GCSE Computer Science Glossary:
Algorithm An algorithm is simply a list of instructions that describe how to do
a particular task.
BIOS Basic Input Output System check. It checks that the computer
hardware is all present and working correctly when you power up a
computer system.
Bit Binary digIT (Smallest unit)
Booting up Starting up a computer is also known as 'booting up' the computer.
Byte A group of eight bits is known as a 'byte'.
Cache Memory Very fast access memory which is close to the processor and stores
frequently used data.
Clock speed

The speed at which the processor carries out instructions,
measured in Megahertz (MHz) or Gigahertz (GHz).
Communication Protocol A 'communications protocol' is the phrase used to describe a set of
rules that communication equipment adhere to when they send data
to each other.
Computer Misuse Act
(1990)
The UK law that makes it illegal to hack into a persons computer and
to disrupt deliberately someone elses Computer.
Computer System A computer system takes a set of inputs, processes them and creates
a set of outputs using hardware and software.
CPU Central Processing Unit also called as Processor.
Custom written software or
bespoke software
The software system which is designed and developed specifically for
a purpose or company.
Data Protection Act
(1998)
The UK law that tells organisations how they must protect the
personal data of real people.
Dynamic IP Address IP address changes all the time and is allocated by other equipment
on the network automatically.
Flash memory

A technology for storing data in an electronic format
which is used for memory cards. e.g. USB, memory cards.
Flow diagram A flowchart is a diagram which shows the breakdown of an algorithm
into all of the necessary steps and is alternative to Pseudocode.
FTP Transferring files over the internet using File Transfer Protocol.
Gigabyte
2
30
bytes exactly, or about 1000000000 bytes, or about a thousand million
bytes.
Hub/switches The PCs on a network are connected to a 'switch'. A switch manages
lots of connections with computers at the same time and lets them all
communicate with the server. This job was done by Hub at the past
which couldnt handle all connections.
Hyper Text Transfer
Protocol
http
When web pages are requested and then sent over the Internet,
another protocol is used in addition to TCP/IP which is the http.
IP address An IP address is an address given to any piece of equipment on a
network.
Kilobyte 2
10
bytes exactly, or about 1000 bytes.
LAN A Local Area Network (LAN) is a network where the workstations are
'close' together. It is usually thought of as computers in the same
room, or building or even in a number of buildings, which are next to
each other.
These devices store binary data patterns as billions of magnetised
A451 Computer Systems and Programming

Mrs Krishnamoorthy Northfleet School for Girls 2

Magnetic Storage Devices areas on a disk. These areas can be read from or written to by a
special head that moves over the magnetic area. e.g. HDD(Hard Disk
Drive)
Megabyte
2
20
bytes exactly, or about 1000000 bytes, or about a million bytes.
Multi-core processor

A processor with more than one core (processor circuit) which means
it can fetch and execute more than one instruction at a time.
Nibble A nibble is a group of 4 bits.
Non-Volatile Even if you switch the power off, the programs and data are not lost.
e.g. ROM.
Off-the-Shelf software Off-the-Shelf is the sort of software you use it at home or school. e.g.
word processor, spreadsheets, databases etc.
Optical Storage Devices Optical devices store binary patterns using lasers. e.g. CD- ROM, DVD,
Blu-ray disk.
Peripheral Device A peripheral is any hardware device which is connected to the
computer and controlled by CPU.
Private IP Address
IP address is used on LANs.
Protocols When two devices want to successfully communicate, they must
agree to follow some rules about the way they will do it. These are
known as protocols.
Pseudocode Pseudo-code is a cross between English and the keywords used in
programming languages.
Public IP Address
IP address is used on WANs.
RAM Random Access Memory. This is the place where the computer
stores programs and files it is using at the moment.
ROM Read Only Memory. ROM holds part of a program that starts running
when a computer is switched on.
SMTP Sending email can be done using Simple Mail Transfer Protocol.
Solid State Storage Memory devices which keeps its data without power and has no
moving parts.
Static IP Address IP address is fixed and is allocated by the network manager.
TCP/IP

Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol controls how
information is successfully transferred between computers on the
Internet.
Terabyte
2
40
bytes exactly, or about 1000000000000 bytes, or about a million million
bytes.
User interface Software that enables the user to provide instructions to, interact
with the computer or any device. It is part of the operating system.
Virtual Memory Virtual memory is when the computer uses some of its hard disk
space as if it were RAM.
Volatile When you switch the power off, all the contents will be lost. e.g. RAM
WAN A Wide Area Network (WAN) is where the workstations are 'further
apart' from each other. WANs are usually made up of LANs connected
together.