CIS 105 -- Survey of Computer Information Systems

Essential Concepts and Terminology -- Study Unit One.

Computer Fluency.
The knowledge possessed relating to the digital world, the level of literacy in computer-related skills.
A device that performs four basic operations: accepts input, processes data, stores data, and produces output.
Instructions that direct how a computer performs tasks.
As a noun, "input" means the data that is conveyed to a computer. As a verb, "input" means to enter data into a computer.
In the context of computing and data management, data refers to the symbols that a computer uses to represent facts and ideas.
Systematic arithmetical or logical operations that a computer performs to manipulate data.
The results produced by computer processing operations (for example, reports, graphs, and music).
The area in a computer where data is retained to be used again later.
The overall, step-by-step procedure used to solve a problem.
Batch Processing.
A single computer processing cycle conducted in a fixed sequence.
Electronic and mechanical devices used for input, output, processing, and storing data. Physical components of a computer and its peripheral devices.
The instructions that set up a computer to do a task, indicate how to interact with a user, and specify how to process data. Programs that run on a computer.
An instruction that the user inputs into the computer to tell it to carry out a task.
A message indicating that a command has been carried out.
An arrangement of letter, number, and special function keys that acts as the primary input device to a computer.
One of a standard set of symbols, such as letters, numbers, and punctuation marks.
A symbol that marks the user's place on the screen.
Insertion Point.
A flashing vertical bar that appears on the screen, indicating where the user can enter text.
An input device that allows the user to manipulate objects on the screen by moving the mouse on a surface.
Central Processing Unit (CPU).
The main processing unit in a computer, consisting of circuitry that executes instructions to process data.
System Unit.
The case or box that contains the computer's power supply, storage devices, the main circuit board, input and output connectors, processor, and memory.
Complex electronic circuitry fabricated on a silicon wafer. One of several chips on a computer's circuit board.
A computer's main circuit board.
The computer circuitry that holds data waiting to be processed.
RAM (Random Access Memory).
A type of computer memory circuit that holds data, program instructions, and the operating system while the computer is on. RAM capacity is measured in megabytes (MB).
Megabyte. (MB)
Approximately one million bytes; exactly 1,048,576 bytes.
Expansion Slot.
A socket or "slot" on a PC motherboard designed to hold a circuit board called an expansion card.
Expansion Card.
A circuit board that is plugged into a slot on a PC motherboard to add extra functions, devices, or ports. Also called an expansion board.
Peripheral Devices.
Components and equipment that expand a computer's input, output, and storage capabilities, e.g., a printer or scanner.
A display device that forms an image by converting electrical signals from the computer into points of colored light on a display.
Storage devices.
The physical material used to store computer data, such as a floppy disk, a hard disk, or a CD-ROM.
Magnetic storage.
The recording of data onto disks or tape by magnetizing particles of an oxide-based surface coating.
Optical storage.
A means of recording data as light and dark spots on a CD, DVD, or other optical media.
An indication that a computer can retrieve data from a storage medium such as a CD-ROM, but cannot write new data onto it.
Floppy disk.
A removable magnetic storage medium, typically 3.5" in size with a capacity of 1.44 MB.
Zip disk.
A high-capacity floppy disk manufactured by Iomega Corporation, frequently used for back- ups. Available in 100 and 250 MB capacities.
Gigabyte. (GB)
Approximately one billion bytes; exactly 1,073,741,842 bytes.
CD-ROM Drive.
A storage device that uses laser technology to read data from a CD-ROM.
An optical storage medium similar in appearance and technology to a CD-ROM but with higher storage capacity. The acronym stands for "digital video disc" or "digital versatile disc."
A DVD disk that contains data that has been permanently stamped on the disk surface.
Network Server.
A computer connected to a network (two or more connected computers) that "serves," or distributes, resources to the network users.
A device that sends and receives data to and from computers over telephone lines.
NIC (Network Interface Card) .
A small circuit board that sends data from a workstation out over a network, and collects incoming data for the workstation.
Local Area Network (LAN).
An interconnected group of computers and peripherals located within a relatively limited area, such as a building or a campus.
Personal Computer (PC).
A microcomputer that uses the Windows software and contains an Intel-compatible microprocessor.
Desktop Computer.
A computer that is built around a single microprocessor chip and is small enough to fit on a desk.
Notebook Computer.
A small lightweight portable computer that usually runs on battery power. Sometimes called a laptop.
The fastest and most expensive type of computer, capable of processing more than one trillion instructions per second.
A large, fast, and expensive computer generally used by large organizations to provide centralized storage processing and management for large amounts of data.
A device with a keyboard and a monitor, used for input and output, but not for processing.
A midrange computer, somewhat larger than a microcomputer, that can carry out processing tasks for many simultaneous user terminals.
The process of creating applications or programs for an information system using a programming language or application development tool (also called software engineering).
Programming Language.
A special purpose language that enables computer processes.
Source Code.
Computer instructions as written in a high-level language by a programmer.
Object Code.
The instructions that result from compiling source code, code version that the computer reads.
Software that translates a program written in a high-level language into low-level instructions before the program is executed.
System Software.
Computer programs that help the computer carry out essential operating tasks.
Application Software.
Computer programs that help you perform a specific task such as word processing. Also called application programs, applications, or programs.
Operating System (OS).
The software that controls the computer's use of its hardware resources, such as memory and disk storage space, and provides support for running application software.
User Interface.
The software and hardware that enable people to interact with computers.
Command-line Interface.
A type of user interface that requires the user to type in commands.
Specifications or rules for the sequence and punctuation of command words and parameters.
Graphical User Interface (GUI) .
A type of user interface that features on-screen objects such as menus and icons, manipulated by a mouse. Abbreviated GUI (pronounced "gooey").
Utility Programs.
A subcategory of system software designed to augment the operating system by providing ways for a computer user to control the allocation and use of hardware resources.
Computer Virus.
A rogue program that attaches itself to a file, reproduces, and spreads from one file to another, destroying data, displaying an irritating message, or otherwise disrupting computer operations.
Office Suite.
A number of application programs that are packaged together and sold as a unit.
Word Processing Software.
Computer programs that assist the user in producing documents such as reports, letters, papers, and manuscripts.
Spreadsheet Software.
Software for creating electronic worksheets that hold data in cells and perform calculations based on that data.
Database Software.
The application software used to create and manage a database, and display meaningfully organized information.
Presentation Software.
Software that provides tools to combine text, graphics, graphs, animation, and sound into a series of electronic "slides" that can be output on a projector or as overhead transparencies, paper copies, or 35 mm slides.
WWW (World Wide Web).
The global network of computer networks enabling hundreds of millions of connected users to access trillions of pages of information.
ISP (Internet Service Provider).
A company that provides Internet access to businesses, organizations, and individuals.
Messages that are transmitted between computers over a communications network. Short for electronic mail.
FTP (File Transfer Protocol).
The set of rules enabling exchange of computer files via the Internet


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