it glossary of terms cie o level cambridge gce

Compilation of GCE ‘O’ Level Computer Studies ICT terms BY: MUSTAFA MAHMOUD Below is a compilation of terms from past year GCE ‘O’ Level Computer Studies (7010) papers. The definitions of the terms were obtained from the following books and documents besides personal definitions: Understanding Computer Science For Advanced Level by Ray Bradley Computer Terms Document by Mrs. Bethsaida Ruiz ICT Glossary Document obtained from the Internet GCSE Computer Studies for You by Stephen Doyle Revise GCSE ICT Study Guide by Steve Cushing School Certificate Computer Studies Year-By-Year Past Examination Questions by Web Publications. ) GCE ‘O’ Level Computer Studies Past Year Papers Mark Schemes 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) A 1. 2. 3. 4. AI – Artificial Intelligence Algorithm – A formula or set of steps for solving a particular problem. Alphabetic Data – Data that consists of Alphabetic characters (A – Z) ONLY. Alphanumeric Character – Data that consists of alphabets, numbers and might include characters such as punctuation characters. 5. Amend – To make changes or improvements. 6. Analogue Data – signal which does not vary in discrete steps, but continuously from one level to another.

E. g. an analogue watch. . Analysis – A step in the process of development of a system where the required functions of the system are found out. 8. Array – Set of storage locations referenced by a single identifier. 9. Assembler – A program or software that converts assembly language mnemonics into machine code. 10. Assembly language – A programming language where mnemonics are used instead of machine code. 11. ATD Conversion – Analogue-to-Digital Conversion. The conversion of analogue signals to digital signals using an ATD converter. B 1. Backing Store – Storage media such as disk or cartridge. . Bar Code – A code using lines of varying thickness to represent a unique produce code. 3. Batch Processing – A type of processing where the processing of files starts or occurs only after all the data is collected. This type of processing does not require user interaction. E. g. Payroll system. 4. Bit – Binary Digit. A ‘1’ or a ‘0’. 5. Buffer – An area of memory used to temporarily store data to compensate for speed difference of CPU and device during transfer of data between peripheral devices and CPU. E. g. Printer buffer to store the data that is to be printed. 6.

Byte – Binary Term. Equivalent to 8 bits. Takes up a character. C 1. CAD – Computer Aided Design. 2. CD-ROM – Compact Disk Read Only Memory. An optical disk that can store video, audio and computer data. Usually used as a backing store. 3. Check Digit – See Check Sum. 4. Check Sum – Extra data, derived by applying some suitable algorithm, is sent along with the message as a check on the integrity of the received message. 5. Command Driven – A type of user-interface where the user has to enter a command to get something done. (Commands are usually entered using a keyboard) 1 6.

Compiler – A program that converts high level language into machine code. Converts the whole program before execution all at once, e. g. Turbo Pascal. (See Interpreter for clearer understanding) 7. Computer Fraud – The act or process of using a computer to carry out criminal or illegal activities. 8. Control Character – A character which is not printed but causes some other action to take place. E. g. Insert Enter, Delete, Escape and Control keys. D 1. Data logging – The automatic capture and storage of data readings obtained or received from sensors over a period of time. E. g.

Weather forecasting, temperature, rainfall, wind speed, CO2, wind direction, pressure. 2. Data Protection Act – The government act that lays down guidelines for personal information stored in computer systems. *Refer pages 135 & 136 of Revise GCSE ICT book (ISBN 1-84315-511-7) for details about the 1998 Data Protection act*. 3. Data Structure – The organising of data in special ways so that efficient processing may take place. 4. Data Type – The characteristic of columns and variables that defines what types of data values they can store. 5. Debug – Removing errors from systems or programs. 6. Delete – To remove or omit. . Design – A step in the system life cycle in which detailed designs for all the parts of the new system are produced. 8. De-skilling – Replacing skilled/semi-skilled labour by microprocessor controlled systems. 9. Digital Data – Data that varies discretely and consists, at its most basic level, of just 0s and 1s. 10. Directory – Information about files, their attributes, location and ownership. Directory provides a mapping between file name and the actual files. 11. DTP – Desktop Publishing Package – A software that enables the manipulation of high quality documents involving graphics and text.

E 1. EFTPOS – Electronic Funds Transfer Point-of-Sale. 2. Electronic Scabbing – Allows managers to switch word processing or computer processing duties from striking clerks in one country to non-striking clerks in another country. 3. E-mail – Electronic Mail. 4. EPOS – Electronic Point-of-Sale (Student should be capable of stating the difference between EPOS and EFTPOS as it is sometimes asked. Refer page 27 of Revise GCSE ICT book) 5. Expert System – A specialist problem-solving system with a knowledge base. (Students are required to know the composition of an expert system) 2 F 1.

Feasibility Study – Part of the system life cycle which examines possible solutions to system problems. 2. Field – (1) A space allocated for a particular item of information. (2) A group of characters that represent a single item of data in a file. 3. File – A collection of records that are related in some way and are contained in a single unit. 4. File Access – The way a file is read from or written to. 5. File Directory – See Directory Above. 6. File Generations – Successive versions of a master file used in cases of system failure. E. g. supermarket stock control or updating stock.

G 1. Gateway – A link between systems that uses telecommunications and converts data passing through to allow a computer in a LAN to communicate with a computer in a WAN or in another LAN. 2. GB – Gigabyte – A unit of storage equivalent to 1024 Megabytes or 230 Bytes. 3. Graphics Character – A character that represents a shape or picture. 4. GUI – Graphical User Interface. WIMP-based computer interface. E. g. Windows H 1. Hacking – The unauthorised use of computer equipment. 2. Handshaking – The exchange of signals to establish communication between two devices or computers. E. g. rinter and computer, modem and computer. 3. Hardware – physical components of a computer or a communications system, e. g. 4. Hierarchical Database – A database built up on a hierarchical data structure. 5. High Level Language – Programming languages closer to the human English language. E. g. COBOL, Pascal, BASIC. I 1. Icons – The pictures used in the WIMP environment to help with selection. 2. Image Processing – Analyzing and manipulating images with a computer. 3. Implementation – A stage in the system life cycle which is actually producing the new system by setting up everything up on the computer. . Inference Program/ Engine – The processing program in an expert system. 5. Information Retrieval System – A system that retrieves stored information on the basis of incomplete or noisy retrieval key information within a realistic processing time. 6. Integrated Package – A software package that includes a word-processor, spreadsheet and database bundled together. 3 7. Interpreter – A program which translates a high level language into machine code. It translates line by line, e. g. Microsoft Visual Basic. 8.

Interrupt – A signal received by the computer’s central processing unit that causes a temporary halt in the execution of a program while another task is performed. 9. ISP – Internet Service Provider – Organisations such as AOL, CompuServe or MSN, for example, which provide user-friendly access to the Internet, often via local POP’s. J 1. Job-Control Language – The language in which the job-control program or jobcontrol commands are written. K 1. Key Field – The most important field which uniquely identifies a record. 2. Knowledge Base – The part of an expert system that consists of the information and instructions.

L 1. LAN – Local Area Network – A network linking computers within a restricted geographical area such as a building or campus. 2. Low Level Language – A programming language very similar to the language to the machine language of the computer. Instructions written in low-level languages can be easily converted to machine code. M 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Machine Code – The language of binary or hex digits used to program computers. Mailbox – A place on a disk (usually on a file server) where e-mail can be stored. Mainframe Computer – A large capacity, highly complex computer system.

Megabyte – A unit of storage equivalent to 1024 Kilobytes or 220 Bytes. Menu Driven – A type of interface where functions are accessed through lists of commands or options that appear on the screen. 6. Merging – Joining together two data sets. 7. MICR – Magnetic Ink Character recognition. Allows automatic data entry. E. g. Numbers at the bottom of a cheque. 8. Microprocessor – A chip that represents the complete central processing unit. 9. Modem – Modulator Demodulator – A device which interconverts digital bits and analogue signals to allow computer signals to be sent over phone lines.

E. g. To connect to the internet. 10. Modular Programming – Breaking up larger programs into smaller modules. 11. Module – A portion of a program that carries out a specific function and may be used alone or combined with other modules of the same program. 12. Multimedia – Software that combines more than one medium. 4 13. Multimedia System – A system that is fitted with multimedia hardware such as sound and video cards and CD-ROM drive and may include peripherals such as camera, microphone or scanner to allow full use of a multimedia product. 14.

Multiprogramming – Sharing the time and memory of a CPU amongst several programs, i. e. running more than one program at the same time. 15. Multi-user On-line System – It is an online system in which many users are able to use the system N 1. Network Database – A database built up using a network data model. 2. Numeric Data – Data that consists of Numbers ONLY. O 1. Object Program – The output from an assembler or compiler. 2. OCR – Optical Character Recognition – A device to read carefully prepared hand written documents or typed text into the computer and change it into ASCII or other text. 3.

Operating System – The extremely complex software which controls a computer and provides the interface between the user, programs, applications and hardware. P 1. PC – Personal Computer – Used to be IBM PC or compatible but now a generally used term for a micro. 2. Peripheral – Device connected to the main computer such as disks, keyboards, printers etc. 3. PIN – Personal Identification Number – a unique number used as a password to establish the identity of a customer. It is normally encoded into the magnetic strip of the customer’s bank card and is known only to the customer and to the bank’s computer. . Polling – Testing a station in a sequential order to establish whether it is holding data for transmission so as to allow time sharing. E. g. checking source of interrupt 5. Process Control – Using computers to monitor industrial tasks such as chemical works. 6. Procedure – See Subroutine below. 7. Program Maintenance – The process of updating, upgrading or debugging a system or program. 8. Pseudocode – A high-level-language-like code used to help develop algorithms. 5 R 1. RAM – Random Access Memory – Memory that can be read from and written to. 2.

Random Access – The time taken to access any location, not dependant on position or the time taken to access data. 3. Real Time Processing – A type of processing where data is processed once it is received and feedback is sent to affect the consequent input. 4. Relational Database – A database built up on a set of relational tables. 5. Robot – Devices used to carry out specialist functions, usually in an industrial environment. 6. Robotics – The theory and application of robots, a completely self-contained electronic, electric, or mechanical device, to such activities as manufacturing. 7.

Rogue Value – A value that is not part of a data set but is used to terminate the execution of some particular part of the program. 8. ROM – Non-volatile memory used to store systems software. This memory can be read from but not written to. E. g. BIOS stored on ROM, bootstrap, PROM, EPROM, CD, DVD. 9. Root Directory – The base directory in a hierarchical data structure. S 1. Sensor – A monitoring device that converts a physical quantity into an electrical signal. E. g. pH sensor. 2. Serial Access – The access of data in sequence with position as the factor that affects the time taken to locate an item. . Simulation – Studying the behaviour of a system by using a model. E. g. Flight simulators 4. Smart Card – Microprocessor chip card where data is held in a tiny silicon chip to replace the need for magnetic stripes. It is harder for criminals to copy or change data on these cards. E. g. credit card, ATM card, loyalty card, driver’s license. 5. Software – Programs that enable the hardware to do a useful job. 6. Sorting – Putting raw data into some pre-determined order. E. g. alphabetical. 7. Source Program – Program before being assembled or compiler. 8.

Stepwise Refinement – The development of a program by breaking the original problem into smaller subproblems and then applying the same process to each subproblem. 9. String – A set of alphanumeric characters and other punctuation etc. 10. Sub Directory – 11. Subroutine (Procedure) – A self contained part of a program usually designed to accomplish a specific task. 12. System Flowchart – A chart that describes the flow of data through a data-processing system. 6 T 1. Technical Documentation – A documentation to ensure that the system can be maintained upgraded or debug for errors.

It is an explanation of how the system works and also contains file structures, algorithms, hierarchical charts and program listings. 2. Top-down Design – Breaking down a problem into sub-problems or modules i. e. stepwise refinement. 3. Touch Sensitive Pad – A pad where the user moves his/her finger or a stylus across to control the cursor on the screen. 4. Transaction File – A file of transactions used to update the old master file to produce the new master file. 5. Turnaround Document – A document, output from a computer system, which is intended to be fed back into the system at a later stage. U . User Documentation – A manual intended for the people who are using a system for the first time. V 1. Validation – A check on data input to detect any data that is incomplete, unreasonable or mistyped. E. g. type, format, range, length, presence, control total, check digit. 2. Variable – A data item that can take on a range of different values. 3. Verification – The check for the correctness of data by use of a second operator. 4. Video Conferencing – Meeting between two or more participants at different sites or locations using computer network or WAN to transmit or receive video and audio data.

Each participant has a video camera or a webcam or a microphone or a speaker for communication. Images appear in real time on a window on the participant’s monitor. 5. Virus – A program that automatically replicates or copies itself to destroy or corrupt programs and data. It can also result in a breakdown of the system. E. g. Trojan horse, Worm. W 1. WAN – Wide Area Network – a network that links computers over a large geographical area including telecommunication links such as satellites. 2. Window – An enclosed, rectangular area on a display screen. 7

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