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CIS 100 Emerge Review - REACH Computer Resource Center
(Remember, this is just an overview…)
Arithmetic/logic unit (ALU) - part of a computer processor (CPU) that carries out arithmetic and logic operations on
the operands in computer instruction words.
Binary number system - uses just two digits, 1 and 0, and is used for representing values in computers
Bit - short for binary digit, it is a digit that can be 1 or 0. A bit is the smallest unit of information that a digital
electronics device can manipulate.
Bus - a subsystem on the motherboard that transfers data among system components.
Byte - group of eight bits.
Character encoding - the representation of characters on the keyboard with bytes, most having roots in the earliest
standard, ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange).
Central processing unit (CPU) is a group of circuits that perform the processing in a computer, typically in one
integrated circuit called a microprocessor.`
Common Type System (CTS) - is a standard that specifies how type definitions and specific values of types are
represented in computer memory.
Computer hard disk drive (HDD) - the mechanism that controls the positioning, reading and writing of the hard disk,
which furnishes data storage.
Computing platforms - describes a computer’s architecture in terms of hardware and software.
Digital convergence - takes advantage of the fact that digitization standardizes all types of data to 1s and 0s to
create devices that combine the functionality of several digital electronics devices.
Digital Technology - digital electronics allow us to manipulate all types of information as digits (1s and 0s) in order
to store and manage the information more efficiently and effectively.
Digitization - also called digitizing, is the process of transforming information, such as text, images, and sounds, into
digital representation (1s and 0s) so that it can be stored and processed by computers.
Expansion - refers to a computer’s capacity to interface with a variety of external devices such as I/O devices,
network devices, and storage devices by connecting through ports, slots, and wireless technologies.
General-purpose input device - is designed to be used for a wide variety of computing activities.
Hardware - refers to the tangible parts of a computer and includes support for processing, storage, input, and
Input/Output (I/O) - the manner in which data is received into a computer system, and the manner in which
information and the results of processing are provided to the user.
Integrated access device (IAD) - a networking device that connects users to a wide area network or the Internet.
Integrated circuit (processor or chip) - connects tiny transistors and other electronics components on a thin piece of
semiconductive material such as silicon.
Light-emitting diode (LED) - more energy efficient and thinner than LCDs with better color accuracy
Liquid crystal display (LCD) - flat panel, light and energy efficient
Machine cycle - provides a CPU with an orderly method of processing software instructions
Magnetic storage - a storage technology that uses the magnetic properties of iron oxide particles rather than
electric charges to store bits and bytes more permanently than RAM.
Moore’s Law - states that the number of transistors on a chip will double about every two years.
Multicore processor - combines multiple CPUs on one chip to share the workload and speed up processing. An
example of this would be a dual-core, triple-core, or quad-core processor.
Multiprocessing - processing that occurs with more than one processing unit to increase productivity and
One Laptop Per Child project (OLPC) - an initiative aimed at providing inexpensive laptop computers to children in
the developing world as a means of bridging the digital divide.
Optical storage - store bits by using an optical laser to burn pits into the surface of a highly reflective disc. Examples
of this would be CDs, DVDs, and Blu-ray discs.
Organic light-emitting diode (OLED) - use organic compounds that produce light - thin, bright and colorful displays
Processing - carries out the instructions provided by software using specially designed circuitry and a well-defined
routine to transform data into useful outputs.
Random access memory (RAM) - temporary, or volatile, memory that stores bytes of data and program instructions
for the processor to access.
Read-only memory (ROM) - provides permanent storage for data and instructions that do not change, such as
firmware — programs and data from the computer manufacturer, including the boot process used to start the
Server - a powerful computer that utilizes many processors to provide services to users simultaneously over a
Small form factor (SFF) - a computer form factor designed to minimize the volume of a desktop computer.
Solid-state storage - a device stores data using solid-state electronics such as transistors, and unlike magnetic and
optical media, does not require any moving mechanical parts.
Solid state drive (SSD) - a type of mass storage device similar to a hard disk drive. It supports reading and writing
data and maintains stored data in a permanent state even without power.
Supercomputers - the most powerful type of computer, often utilizing thousands or even tens of thousands of
processors to solve the world’s most difficult problems.
Synchronization - maintaining common files and data across multiple devices so all copies are up to date.
Transistor - an electronics component typically composed of silicon that opens or closes a circuit to alter the flow of
electricity to store and manipulate bits.
Value Encoding - the representation of values with numbers.
Video card (graphics card) - combines video processing and storage onto an expansion card, or integrates them
onto the motherboard to manage video images for display.
Video memory - sometimes called video RAM, VRAM, or graphics memory, is used to store image data for a
computer display in order to speed the processing and display of video and graphics images.