compact

<theory>

1. (Or "finite", "isolated") In domain theory, an element d of a cpo D is compact if and only if, for any chain S, a subset of D,

	d <= lub S  =>  there exists s in S such that d <= s.

I.e. you always reach d (or better) after a finite number of steps up the chain.

("<=" is written in LaTeX as \sqsubseteq).

[Jargon File]

Last updated: 1995-01-13

<jargon>

2. Of a design, describes the valuable property that it can all be apprehended at once in one's head. This generally means the thing created from the design can be used with greater facility and fewer errors than an equivalent tool that is not compact. Compactness does not imply triviality or lack of power; for example, C is compact and Fortran is not, but C is more powerful than Fortran. Designs become non-compact through accreting features and cruft that don't merge cleanly into the overall design scheme (thus, some fans of Classic C maintain that ANSI C is no longer compact).

Last updated: 2008-10-13

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Compact COBOL

<language>

A subset of COBOL defined, but not published, ca. 1961.

[Sammet 1969, p. 339].

Last updated: 2008-10-13

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compactCompact COBOLCompact DiscCompact Disc interactive

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Compact Disc

<storage>

(CD) (Not "disk", this spelling is part of the standard).

A 4.72 inch disc developed by Sony and Philips that can store, on the same disc, still and/or moving images in monochrome and/or color; stereo or two separate sound tracks integrated with and/or separate from the images; and digital program and information files.

The same fabrication process is used to make both audio CDs and CD-ROMs for storing computer data, the only difference is in the device used to read the CD (the player or drive).

CD Information Center.

Last updated: 1999-06-23

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Compact Disc interactive

<storage>

(CD-i) An embedded application of CD-ROM allowing the user limited interaction with films, games and educational applications via a special controller.

Last updated: 1994-11-02

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Compact Disc Read-Only Memory

<storage>

(CD-ROM) A non-volatile optical data storage medium using the same physical format as audio compact discs, readable by a computer with a CD-ROM drive.

CD-ROM is popular for distribution of large databases, software and especially multimedia applications. The maximum capacity is about 600 megabytes. A CD can store around 640 megabytes of data - about 12 billion bytes per pound weight.

CD-ROM drives are rated with a speed factor relative to music CDs (1x or 1-speed which gives a data transfer rate of 150 kilobytes per second). 12x drives were common in April 1997. Above 12x speed, there are problems with vibration and heat. Constant angular velocity (CAV) drives give speeds up to 20x but due to the nature of CAV the actual throughput increase over 12x is less than 20/12.

20x was thought to be the maximum speed due to mechanical constraints but on 1998-02-24, Samsung Electronics introduced the SCR-3230, a 32x CD-ROM drive which uses a ball bearing system to balance the spinning CD-ROM in the drive to reduce noise.

CD-ROM drives may connect to an IDE interface, a SCSI interface or a propritary interface, of which there are three - Sony, Panasonic, and Mitsumi. Most CD-ROM drives can also play audio CDs.

There are several formats used for CD-ROM data, including Green Book CD-ROM, White Book CD-ROM and Yellow Book CD-ROM. ISO 9660 defines a standard file system, later extended by Joliet.

See also Compact Disc Recordable, Digital Versatile Disc.

Byte, February 1997.

Last updated: 2006-09-25

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Compact Disc Read-Write

Compact Disc Rewritable

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Compact Disc Recordable

<storage>

(CD-R) A write-once version of CD-ROM. CD-Rs can hold about 650 megabytes of data. They are very durable and can be read by normal CD-ROM drives, but once data has been written it cannot be altered.

Standard prerecorded CDs have their information permanently stamped into an aluminium reflecting layer. CD-R discs have a dye-based recording layer and an additional golden reflecting layer.

Digital information is written to the disc by burning (forming) pits in the recording layer in a pattern corresponding to that of a conventional CD.

The laser beam heats the substrate and recording layer to approximately 250 C. The recording layer melts and the substrate expands into the space that becomes available.

Phillips: New Technologies.

See also CD-RW and DVD-RAM.

Last updated: 1999-08-01

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Compact Disc Rewritable

<storage>

(CD-RW) A rewritable version of CD-ROM. A CD-RW drive can write about 650 megabytes of data to CD-RW media an unlimited number of times. Most CD-RW drives can also write once to CD-R media.

CD-RW media cannot be read by CD-ROM drives built prior to 1997 due to the reduced reflectivity (15% compared to 70%) of CD-RW media.

CD-RW drives and media are currently (1999) more expensive than CD-R drives and media. CD-R is sometimes considered a better technology for archival purposes as the data cannot be accidentally modified or tampered with, and encourages better archival practices.

Standard prerecorded CDs have their information permanently stamped into an aluminium reflecting layer. CD-WR discs have a phase-change recording layer and an additional silver (aluminium) reflecting layer.

A laser beam can melt crystals in the recording layer into a non-crystalline amorphous phase or anneal them slowly at a lower temperature back to the crystalline state. The different reflectance of the areas make them appear as the 'pits' and 'lands' of a standard CD.

Phillips: New Technologies.

See also CD-R and DVD-RAM.

Last updated: 1999-08-01

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Compact Disc writer

<storage>

(CD burner) A device that can write data to Compact Disc Recordable (CD-R) or Compact Disc Rewritable (CD-RW) discs. Now both these CD formats are often combined with a DVD writer.

Last updated: 2008-09-16

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compaction

compression

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compactness preserving

<theory>

In domain theory, a function f is compactness preserving if f c is compact whenever c is.

Last updated: 1995-01-13

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compactioncompactness preservingCompaq Computer Corporation

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Compaq Computer Corporation

<company>

A US manufacturer and vendor of IBM PC compatible personal computers and servers. Compaq was started in 1982 by three ex-Texas Instruments employees and by 1995 had become the largest PC manufacturer.

Quarterly sales $2499M, profits $210M (Aug 1994).

Compaq was acquired by Hewlett-Packard in 2004.

http://compaq.com/.

Last updated: 1995-10-24

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compactness preservingCompaq Computer CorporationCompas Pascal

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Compas Pascal

The predecessor of Turbo Pascal, sol by POLY Data of Denmark. It was later renamed POLY Pascal, and afterward sold to Borland.

Last updated: 1995-01-19

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Compaq Computer CorporationCompas PascalCOMPASScompatibility

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COMPASS

COMPrehensive ASSembler.

The assembly language on CDC computers.

Last updated: 1995-01-19

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compatibility

compatible

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compatible

<jargon>

Different systems (e.g., programs, file formats, protocols, even programming languages) that can work together or exchange data are said to be compatible.

See also backward compatible, forward compatible.

Last updated: 1998-01-15

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Compatible Timesharing System

<operating system>

(CTSS) One of the earliest (1963) experiments in the design of interactive time-sharing operating systems. CTSS was ancestral to Multics, Unix, and ITS. It was developed at the MIT Computation Center by a team led by Fernando J. Corbato. CTSS ran on a modified IBM 7094 with a second 32K-word bank of memory, using two 2301 drums for swapping. Remote access was provided to up to 30 users via an IBM 7750 communications controller connected to dial-up modems.

The name ITS (Incompatible time-sharing System) was a hack on CTSS, meant both as a joke and to express some basic differences in philosophy about the way I/O services should be presented to user programs.

Last updated: 1997-01-29

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compatibleCompatible Timesharing SystemCompelCompetitive Access Provider

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Compel

COMpute ParallEL

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Competitive Access Provider

<networking>

(CAP, or "Bypass Carrier") A company which provides network links between the customer and the IntereXchange Carrier or even directly to the Internet Service Provider. CAPs operate private networks independent of Local Exchange Carriers.

["Getting Connected The Internet at 56k and Up", Kevin Dowd, First Edition, p. 49, O'Reilly & Associates, Inc., June 1996, ISBN 1-56592-154-2 (US), ISBN 1-56592-203-4 (international)].

Last updated: 1997-07-23

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Compiled HTML

<filename extension>

A Microsoft file format for distributing a collection of HTML files, along with their associated images, sounds, etc., as a single compressed archive file.

Microsoft use this format for Windows HTML Help files. Most chms include a project (.hhp) file listing the included files and basic settings, a contents (.hhc) file, an index (.hhk) file, html files, and, optionally, image files.

Users view chms with hh.exe, the HTML Help viewer installed with Internet Explorer.

Filename extension: .chm.

http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/en-us/htmlhelp/html/vsconHH1Start.asp.

Last updated: 2003-05-17

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Competitive Access ProviderCompiled HTMLcompilerCOmpiler and GENeralized Translator

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compiler

<programming, tool>

A program that converts another program from some source language (or programming language) to machine language (object code). Some compilers output assembly language which is then converted to machine language by a separate assembler.

A compiler is distinguished from an assembler by the fact that each input statement does not, in general, correspond to a single machine instruction or fixed sequence of instructions. A compiler may support such features as automatic allocation of variables, arbitrary arithmetic expressions, control structures such as FOR and WHILE loops, variable scope, input/ouput operations, higher-order functions and portability of source code.

AUTOCODER, written in 1952, was possibly the first primitive compiler. Laning and Zierler's compiler, written in 1953-1954, was possibly the first true working algebraic compiler.

See also byte-code compiler, native compiler, optimising compiler.

Last updated: 1994-11-07

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COmpiler and GENeralized Translator

<language>

(COGENT) A compiler writing language with pattern-directed string and list processing features, for CDC 3600 and CDC 3800. A COGENT program consists of productions defining a context-free language, plus analysis and synthesis function generators.

["COGENT Programming Manual", J.C. Reynolds, ANL-7022, Argonne, Mar 1965].

[Sammet 1969, p.638].

["An Introduction to the COGENT System", J.C. Reynolds, Proc ACM 20th Natl Conf, 1965].

Last updated: 1994-12-23

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compiler compiler

compiler-compiler

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Compiler-Compiler

An early compiler generator for the Atlas, with its own distinctive input language.

["The Compiler-Compiler", R.A. Brooker et al, Ann Rev Automatic Programming 3:229-275, Pergamon 1963].

Last updated: 1994-10-24

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compiler-compiler

A utility to generate the source code of a parser, interpreter or compiler from an annotated language description (usually in BNF). Most so called compiler-compilers are really just parser generators.

Examples are Bison, Eli, FSL, META 5, MUG2, Parsley, Pre-cc, Yacc.

Last updated: 1995-01-23

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Compiler-Compilercompiler-compilercompiler jockCompiler Language for Information Processing

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compiler jock

A programmer who specialises in writing compilers.

[Jargon File]

Last updated: 1995-01-19

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compiler-compilercompiler jockCompiler Language for Information Processing

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Compiler Language for Information Processing

(CLIP) A language written in 1958-1959, based on IAL, which led to JOVIAL. CLIP was one of the first languages used to write its own compiler.

[Sammet 1969, p. 635].

Last updated: 1994-12-12

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Compiler Target Language

(CTL) The intermediate language used by the ALICE parallel machine.

["The Design and Implementation of ALICE: A Parallel Graph Reduction Machine", M.D. Cripps et al, Proc Workshop on Graph Reduction, Springer 1987].

Last updated: 1994-11-14

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compile time

<programming>

The period of time during which a program's source code is being translated into machine code, as opposed to run time when the program is being executed. As well as the work done by the compiler, this may include macro preprocessing as done by cpp for example. The final stage of program construction, performed by the linker, would generally also be classed as compile time but might be distinguished as link time.

For example, static data in a C program is allocated at compile time whereas non-static data is allocated at run time, typically on the stack.

Last updated: 2004-09-28

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COMPL

<language, operating system>

["The COMPL Language and Operating System", A.G. Fraser et al, Computer J 9(2):144-156, 1966].

Last updated: 1995-01-24

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compile timeCOMPLcomplementComplementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor

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complement

<logic>

The other value or values in the set of possible values.

See logical complement, bitwise complement, set complement.

Last updated: 1995-01-24

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Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor

<integrated circuit>

(CMOS) A semiconductor fabrication technology using a combination of n- and p-doped semiconductor material to achieve low power dissipation. Any path through a gate through which current can flow includes both n and p type transistors. Only one type is turned on in any stable state so there is no static power dissipation and current only flows when a gate switches in order to charge the parasitic capacitance.

Last updated: 1999-06-04

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complementary nondeterministic polynomial

<complexity>

(Co-NP) The set (or property) of problems with a yes/no answer where the complementary no/yes problem takes nondeterministic polynomial time (NP).

For example, "Is n prime" is Co-NP and "Is n not prime" is NP, since it is only necessary to find one factor to prove that n is not prime whereas to prove that it is prime all possible factors must be eliminated.

Last updated: 2009-05-21

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complete

See also complete graph, complete inference system, complete lattice, complete metric space, complete partial ordering, complete theory.

[1. or 2. or both?]

Last updated: 1996-04-24

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complementary nondeterministic polynomialcompletecomplete graph

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complete graph

A graph which has a link between every pair of nodes. A complete bipartite graph can be partitioned into two subsets of nodes such that each node is joined to every node in the other subset.

Last updated: 1995-01-24

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complete inference system

<logic>

An inference system A is complete with respect to another system B if A can reach every conclusion which is true in B. The dual to completeness is soundness.

Last updated: 1998-07-05

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complete lattice

A lattice is a partial ordering of a set under a relation where all finite subsets have a least upper bound and a greatest lower bound. A complete lattice also has these for infinite subsets. Every finite lattice is complete. Some authors drop the requirement for greatest lower bounds.

Last updated: 1994-12-02

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complete metric space

<theory>

A metric space in which every sequence that converges in itself has a limit. For example, the space of real numbers is complete by Dedekind's axiom, whereas the space of rational numbers is not - e.g. the sequence a[0]=1; a[n_+1]:=a[n]/2+1/a[n].

Last updated: 1998-07-05

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completeness

complete

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complete partial ordering

<theory>

(cpo) A partial ordering of a set under a relation, where all directed subsets have a least upper bound. A cpo is usually defined to include a least element, bottom (David Schmidt calls this a pointed cpo). A cpo which is algebraic and boundedly complete is a (Scott) domain.

Last updated: 1994-11-30

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complete theory

<logic>

An abstract logical theory in which all true statements have formal proofs within the theory.

Last updated: 1998-07-05

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complete unification

<programming>

W.P. Weijland's name for unification without occur check.

Last updated: 1996-01-11

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complete theorycomplete unificationComplex Instruction Set Computer

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Complex Instruction Set Computer

(CISC) A processor where each instruction can perform several low-level operations such as memory access, arithmetic operations or address calculations. The term was coined in contrast to Reduced Instruction Set Computer.

Before the first RISC processors were designed, many computer architects were trying to bridge the "semantic gap" - to design instruction sets to support high-level languages by providing "high-level" instructions such as procedure call and return, loop instructions such as "decrement and branch if non-zero" and complex addressing modes to allow data structure and array accesses to be compiled into single instructions.

While these architectures achieved their aim of allowing high-level language constructs to be expressed in fewer instructions, it was observed that they did not always result in improved performance. For example, on one processor it was discovered that it was possible to improve the performance by NOT using the procedure call instruction but using a sequence of simpler instructions instead. Furthermore, the more complex the instruction set, the greater the overhead of decoding an instruction, both in execution time and silicon area. This is particularly true for processors which used microcode to decode the (macro) instruction. It is easier to debug a complex instruction set implemented in microcode than one whose decoding is "hard-wired" in silicon.

Examples of CISC processors are the Motorola 680x0 family and the Intel 80186 through Intel 486 and Pentium.

Last updated: 1994-10-10

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complexity

<algorithm>

The level in difficulty in solving mathematically posed problems as measured by the time, number of steps or arithmetic operations, or memory space required (called time complexity, computational complexity, and space complexity, respectively).

The interesting aspect is usually how complexity scales with the size of the input (the "scalability"), where the size of the input is described by some number N. Thus an algorithm may have computational complexity O(N^2) (of the order of the square of the size of the input), in which case if the input doubles in size, the computation will take four times as many steps. The ideal is a constant time algorithm (O(1)) or failing that, O(N).

See also NP-complete.

Last updated: 1994-10-20

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complexity analysis

In sructured program design, a quality-control operation that counts the number of "compares" in the logic implementing a function; a value of less than 10 is considered acceptable.

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complexity class

<algorithm>

A collection of algorithms or computable functions with the same complexity.

Last updated: 1996-04-24

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complexity measure

<algorithm>

A quantity describing the complexity of a computation.

Last updated: 1996-04-24

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complex number

<mathematics>

A number of the form x+iy where i is the square root of -1, and x and y are real numbers, known as the "real" and "imaginary" part. Complex numbers can be plotted as points on a two-dimensional plane, known as an Argand diagram, where x and y are the Cartesian coordinates.

An alternative, polar notation, expresses a complex number as (r e^it) where e is the base of natural logarithms, and r and t are real numbers, known as the magnitude and phase. The two forms are related:

	r e^it = r cos(t) + i r sin(t)
	       = x + i y
where
	x = r cos(t)
	y = r sin(t)

All solutions of any polynomial equation can be expressed as complex numbers. This is the so-called Fundamental Theorem of Algebra, first proved by Cauchy.

Complex numbers are useful in many fields of physics, such as electromagnetism because they are a useful way of representing a magnitude and phase as a single quantity.

Last updated: 1995-04-10

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complex programmable logic device

<hardware>

(CPLD) A programmable circuit similar to an FPGA, but generally on a smaller scale, invented by Xilinx, Inc.

Last updated: 1998-09-26

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component

<programming>

An object adhering to a component architecture.

Last updated: 1997-11-20

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component architecture

<programming>

A notion in object-oriented programming where "components" of a program are completely generic. Instead of having a specialised set of methods and fields they have generic methods through which the component can advertise the functionality it supports to the system into which it is loaded. This enables completely dynamic loading of objects. JavaBeans is an example of a component architecture.

See also design pattern.

Last updated: 1997-11-20

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componentcomponent architecturecomponent based development

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component based development

<programming>

(CBD) The creation, integration, and re-use of components of program code, each of which has a common interface for use by multiple systems.

Last updated: 1999-08-23

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component based developmentComponent Integration Laboratories

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Component Integration Laboratories

<project>

(CIL) An effort to create a common framework for interoperability between application programs on desktop platforms, formed by Apple Computer, Inc., IBM, Novell, Oracle, Taligent, WordPerfect and Xerox.

[When? What happened?]

Last updated: 1994-10-24

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Component Object Model

<programming>

(COM) An open software architecture from DEC and Microsoft, allowing interoperation between ObjectBroker and OLE. Microsoft evolved COM into DCOM.

On page XV of Box's book in the foreword by Charlie Kindel he says, "It is Mark Ryland's fault that some people call COM the 'Common Object Model.' He deeply regrets it and apologizes profusely."

["Essential COM", Don Box].

[Details? URL?]

Last updated: 1999-06-12

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com port

communications port

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composite

aggregate

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composition

1. function composition.

2. typesetting.

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compositecompositionCompositional C++Compound Document Architecture

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Compositional C++

<language, parallel>

(CC++) Extensions to C++ for compositional parallel programming.

FTP Caltech.

[Did Carl Kesselman at Cal Tech develop it?]

Last updated: 2000-08-16

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compositionCompositional C++Compound Document Architecture

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Compound Document Architecture

<file format>

(CDA) DEC's set of standards for compound document creation, storage, retrieval, interchange and manipulation.

Last updated: 1996-11-03

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Compositional C++Compound Document Architecturecompound key

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compound key

<database>

(Or "multi-part key", "concatenated key") A key which consists of more than one attribute of the body of information (e.g. database "record") it identifies.

Last updated: 1997-04-26

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Compound Document Architecturecompound keyCOMPREHENSIVEComprehensive Perl Archive Network

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COMPREHENSIVE

An early system on MIT's Whirlwind.

[Listed in CACM 2(5):16, May 1959].

Last updated: 2002-06-03

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compound keyCOMPREHENSIVEComprehensive Perl Archive Network

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Comprehensive Perl Archive Network

<tool>

(CPAN) A collection of Internet archives containing material related to the Perl programming language.

http://perl.com/CPAN.

Last updated: 1999-12-04

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Comprehensive Perl Archive NetworkComprehensive TeX Archive Network

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Comprehensive TeX Archive Network

<text>

(CTAN) An archive site for the TeX text formatting package.

http://tex.ac.uk. Gopher. ftp://ftp.tex.ac.uk/. NFS: nfs.tex.ac.uk.

Last updated: 1995-01-18

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Comprehensive Perl Archive NetworkComprehensive TeX Archive Networkcompress

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compress

1. To feed data through any compression algorithm.

<tool>

2. The Unix program "compress", now largely supplanted by gzip.

Unix compress was written in C by Joseph M. Orost, James A. Woods et al., and was widely circulated via Usenet. It uses the Lempel-Ziv Welch algorithm and normally produces files with the suffix ".Z".

Compress uses variable length codes. Initially, nine-bit codes are output until they are all used. When this occurs, ten-bit codes are used and so on, until an implementation-dependent maximum is reached.

After every 10 kilobytes of input the compression ratio is checked. If it is decreasing then the entire string table is discarded and information is collected from scratch.

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Compressed SLIP

<networking>

(CSLIP) VanJacobsen TCP header compression. A version of SLIP using compression. CSLIP has no effect on the data portion of the packet and has nothing to do with compression by modem. It does reduce the TCP header from 40 bytes to 7 bytes, a noticeable difference when doing telnet with lots of little packets. CSLIP has no effect on UDP, only TCP.

Last updated: 1995-05-28

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compressed video

video compression

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compression

<application>

1. (Or "compaction") The coding of data to save storage space or transmission time. Although data is already coded in digital form for computer processing, it can often be coded more efficiently (using fewer bits). For example, run-length encoding replaces strings of repeated characters (or other units of data) with a single character and a count. There are many compression algorithms and utilities. Compressed data must be decompressed before it can be used.

The standard Unix compression utilty is called compress though GNU's superior gzip has largely replaced it. Other compression utilties include pack, zip and PKZIP.

When compressing several similar files, it is usually better to join the files together into an archive of some kind (using tar for example) and then compress them, rather than to join together individually compressed files. This is because some common compression algorithms build up tables based on the data from their current input which they have already compressed. They then use this table to compress subsequent data more efficiently.

See also TIFF, JPEG, MPEG, Lempel-Ziv Welch, "lossy", "lossless".

Compression FAQ.

Web Content Compression FAQ.

Usenet newsgroups: comp.compression, comp.compression.research.

<multimedia>

2. Reducing the dynamic range of an audio signal, making quiet sounds louder and loud sounds quieter. Thus, when discussing digital audio, the preferred term for reducing the total amount of data is "compaction". Some advocate this term in all contexts.

Last updated: 2004-04-26

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COMPROSL

COMpound PROcedural Scientific Language.

A language for scientists and engineers.

[Sammet 1969, pp. 299-300].

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compressionCOMPROSLCompu$erveCompulink Information eXchange

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Compu$erve

(Or "CompuSpend", "Compu$pend") A pejorative name for CompuServe Information Service (CI$) drawing attention to perceived high charges.

[Jargon File]

Last updated: 1994-11-08

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COMPROSLCompu$erveCompulink Information eXchangeCompuServe

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Compulink Information eXchange

(CIX) A London-based conferencing system, also providing electronic mail, FTP, telnet, IRC, Gopher and web. Includes conferences "archimedes" or "bbc" for users of Acorn computers.

E-mail: <[email protected]>.

Telephone: +44 (181) 390 8446.

Last updated: 1994-11-08

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CompuServe

CompuServe Information Service

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CompuServe Corporation

<company>

The parent organisation of CompuServe Information Service, CompuServe Network Services and CompuServe Remote Computing Services. CompuServe was owned by H.R. Block but is now (1999) owned by America On-Line.

http://compuserve.com/.

Last updated: 1995-09-12

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CompuServe Information Service

<company>

(CIS, CompuServe Interactive Services). An ISP and on-line service portal based in Columbus, Ohio, USA; part of AOL since February 1998.

CIS was founded in 1969 as a computer time-sharing service. Along with AOL and Prodigy, CIS was one of the first pre-Internet, on-line services for consumers, providing bulletin boards, on-line conferencing, business news, sports and weather, financial transactions, electronic mail, Usenet news, travel and entertainment data and on-line editions of computer publications. CIS was originally run by CompuServe Corporation.

In 1979, CompuServe was the first service to offer electronic mail and technical support to personal computer users. In 1980 they were the first to offer real-time chat with its CB Simulator. By 1982, the company had formed its Network Services Division to provide wide-area networking to corporate clients.

Initially mostly serving the USA, in 1986 they developed a Japanese version called NIFTYSERVE. In 1989, they expanded into Europe and became a leading Internet service provider.

In 2001 they released version 7.0 of their client program.

CompuServe home.

Last updated: 2009-04-02

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CompuServe Interactive Services

CompuServe Information Service

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Compusult Ltd.

A computer consulting firm (in Newfoundland, Canada?) that provides a public access Unix.

Last updated: 1994-10-20

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computability theory

<mathematics>

The area of theoretical computer science concerning what problems can be solved by any computer.

A function is computable if an algorithm can be implemented which will give the correct output for any valid input.

Since computer programs are countable but real numbers are not, it follows that there must exist real numbers that cannot be calculated by any program. Unfortunately, by definition, there isn't an easy way of describing any of them!

In fact, there are many tasks (not just calculating real numbers) that computers cannot perform. The most well-known is the halting problem, the busy beaver problem is less famous but just as fascinating.

["Computability", N.J. Cutland. (A well written undergraduate-level introduction to the subject)].

["The Turing Omnibus", A.K. Dewdeney].

Last updated: 1995-01-13

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computable

computability theory

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Computational Adequacy Theorem

This states that for any program (a non-function typed term in the typed lambda-calculus with constants) normal order reduction (outermost first) fails to terminate if and only if the standard semantics of the term is bottom. Moreover, if the reduction of program e1 terminates with some head normal form e2 then the standard semantics of e1 and e2 will be equal. This theorem is significant because it relates the operational notion of a reduction sequence and the denotational semantics of the input and output of a reduction sequence.

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computational complexity

<algorithm>

The number of steps or arithmetic operations required to solve a computational problem. One of the three kinds of complexity.

Last updated: 1996-04-24

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Computational Fluid Dynamics

<language>

(CFD) A Fortran-based parallel language for the Illiac IV.

Last updated: 1994-11-29

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computational geometry

<mathematics>

The study of algorithms for combinatorial, topological, and metric problems concerning sets of points, typically in Euclidean space. Representative areas of research include geometric search, convexity, proximity, intersection, and linear programming.

Last updated: 1997-08-03

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computational learning

grammatical inference

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computational molecular biology

<application>

The area of bioinformatics concerning the use of computers to characterise the molecular components of living things.

Last updated: 2005-01-07

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computational learningcomputational molecular biologyCOMpute ParallEL

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COMpute ParallEL

<language>

(Compel) The first single-assignment language.

["A Language Design for Concurrent Processes", L.G. Tesler et al, Proc SJCC 32:403-408, AFIPS (Spring 1968)].

Last updated: 1995-01-19

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Computer

<publication>

A journal of the IEEE Computer Society.

Last updated: 1995-03-10

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computer

<computer>

A machine that can be programmed to manipulate symbols. Computers can perform complex and repetitive procedures quickly, precisely and reliably and can quickly store and retrieve large amounts of data.

The physical components from which a computer is constructed (electronic circuits and input/output devices) are known as "hardware". Most computers have four types of hardware component: CPU, input, output and memory. The CPU (central processing unit) executes programs ("software") which tell the computer what to do. Input and output (I/O) devices allow the computer to communicate with the user and the outside world. There are several kinds of memory - fast, expensive, short term memory (e.g. RAM) to hold intermediate results, and slower, cheaper, long-term memory (e.g. magnetic disk and magnetic tape) to hold programs and data between jobs.

See also analogue computer.

Last updated: 1995-03-10

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Computer Aided Design

<application>

(CAD) The part of CAE concerning the drawing or physical layout steps of engineering design. Often found in the phrase "CAD/CAM" for ".. manufacturing".

Last updated: 1994-11-30

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Computer Aided Detector Design

<project, standard>

(CADD) A project to standardise HEP detector designer.

Last updated: 2011-02-18

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Computer Aided Engineering

<application>

(CAE) The use of software to help with all phases of engineering design work. Like computer aided design, but also involving the conceptual and analytical design steps and extending into Computer-Integrated Manufacturing (CIM).

Last updated: 1994-10-28

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Computer-Aided Instruction

<application, education>

(CAI, or "- assisted", "- learning", CAL, Computer-Based Training CBT, "e-learning") The use of computers for education and training.

The programs and data used in CAI, known as "courseware", may be supplied on media such as CD-ROM or delivered via a network which also enables centralised logging of student progress. CAI may constitute the whole or part of a course, may be done individually or in groups ("Computer Supported Collaborative Learning", CSCL), with or without human guidance.

Last updated: 2011-11-25

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Computer-Aided Learning

Computer-Aided Instruction

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Computer Aided Software Engineering

<programming>

(CASE, or "- assisted -") A technique for using computers to help with one or more phases of the software life-cycle, including the systematic analysis, design, implementation and maintenance of software. Adopting the CASE approach to building and maintaining systems involves software tools and training for the developers who will use them.

Last updated: 1996-05-10

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Computer-Aided Software Testing

<programming>

(CAST) Automated software testing in one or more phases of the software life-cycle.

Last updated: 1996-05-10

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Computer Aided Test Engineering

<testing, electronics>

(CATE) CASE methods applied to electronics testing and linked to CAE.

Last updated: 2007-05-03

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Computer Animation Movie Language

<language>

A programming language for generating animation.

["A Computer Animation Movie Language for Educational Motion Pictures", D.D. Weiner et al, Proc FJCC 33(2), AFIPS, Fall 1968].

Last updated: 2012-01-30

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Computer-Assisted Learning

Computer-Aided Instruction

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Computer-Assisted Software Engineering

Computer-Aided Software Engineering

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Computer Associates International, Inc.

<company>

(CA) A US software development company, founded in 1976. CA have purchased many other software companies, including Spectrum Software, Inc., Cheyenne Software, Platinum Technology, Inc., ASK Corporation. They produce a number of popular software packages, including Unicenter TNG and Ingres.

They had an Initial Public Offering in 1981 valued at more than US$3.2M, had more than US$6B in revenue in 2000, and employ more than 17,000 people.

http://ca.com/.

(20002-04-20)

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Computer-Based Training

Computer-Aided Instruction

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computer bus

bus

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Computer Compiler

<language>

1. A proposed language for compiler design.

[Sammet 1969, p. 695].

2. A discussion of various applications of computers to the design and production of computers.

ACM.

["A proposal for a computer compiler", Gernot Metze (University of Illinois), Sundaram Seshu (University of Illinois), AFIPS '66 (Spring) Proceedings of the 1966-04-26 - 28, Spring joint computer conference].

Last updated: 2007-02-13

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computer confetti

<jargon>

(Or "chad") A common term for punched-card chad, which, however, does not make good confetti, as the pieces are stiff and have sharp corners that could injure the eyes.

GLS reports that he once attended a wedding at MIT during which he and a few other guests enthusiastically threw chad instead of rice. The groom later grumbled that he and his bride had spent most of the evening trying to get the stuff out of their hair.

[Jargon File]

Last updated: 2001-06-22

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Computer Conservation Society

<body>

(CCS) A british group that aims to promote the conservation and study of historic computers, past and future. The CCS is a co-operative venture between the British Computer Society, the Science Museum of London and the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester. The CCS was constituted in September 1989 as a Specialist Group of the BCS.

A number of active projects and working groups focus on specific computer restorations, early computer technologies and software. Membership is open to anyone interested.

Home.

See also Bletchley Park.

Last updated: 2012-03-22

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computer cookie

HTTP cookie

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computer crime

<legal>

Breaking the criminal law by use of a computer.

See also computer ethics, software law.

Last updated: 1997-07-09

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Computer Design Language

<language>

An ALGOL-like language for computer design.

["An ALGOL-like Computer Design Language", Y. Chu, CACM 8(10) (Oct 1965)].

Last updated: 1994-11-17

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computer dictionary

Free On-line Dictionary of Computing

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Computer Emergency Response Team

<security, body>

(CERT) An organisation formed by DARPA in November 1988 in response to the Internet worm incident. The CERT charter is to work with the Internet community to help it responf to computer security events involving Internet hosts, to raise awareness of computer security issues and to conduct research targeted at improving the security of existing systems. CERT products and services include 24-hour technical assistance for responding to computer security incidents, product vulnerability assistance, technical documents and tutorials.

CERT Home.

E-mail: <[email protected]> (incident reports).

Telephone +1 (412) 268 7090 (24-hour hotline).

Last updated: 2012-05-18

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computer ethics

<philosophy>

Ethics is the field of study that is concerned with questions of value, that is, judgments about what human behaviour is "good" or "bad". Ethical judgments are no different in the area of computing from those in any other area. Computers raise problems of privacy, ownership, theft, and power, to name but a few.

Computer ethics can be grounded in one of four basic world-views: Idealism, Realism, Pragmatism, or Existentialism. Idealists believe that reality is basically ideas and that ethics therefore involves conforming to ideals. Realists believe that reality is basically nature and that ethics therefore involves acting according to what is natural. Pragmatists believe that reality is not fixed but is in process and that ethics therefore is practical (that is, concerned with what will produce socially-desired results). Existentialists believe reality is self-defined and that ethics therefore is individual (that is, concerned only with one's own conscience). Idealism and Realism can be considered ABSOLUTIST worldviews because they are based on something fixed (that is, ideas or nature, respectively). Pragmatism and Existentialism can be considered RELATIVIST worldviews because they are based or something relational (that is, society or the individual, respectively).

Thus ethical judgments will vary, depending on the judge's world-view. Some examples:

First consider theft. Suppose a university's computer is used for sending an e-mail message to a friend or for conducting a full-blown private business (billing, payroll, inventory, etc.). The absolutist would say that both activities are unethical (while recognising a difference in the amount of wrong being done). A relativist might say that the latter activities were wrong because they tied up too much memory and slowed down the machine, but the e-mail message wasn't wrong because it had no significant effect on operations.

Next consider privacy. An instructor uses her account to acquire the cumulative grade point average of a student who is in a class which she instructs. She obtained the password for this restricted information from someone in the Records Office who erroneously thought that she was the student's advisor. The absolutist would probably say that the instructor acted wrongly, since the only person who is entitled to this information is the student and his or her advisor. The relativist would probably ask why the instructor wanted the information. If she replied that she wanted it to be sure that her grading of the student was consistent with the student's overall academic performance record, the relativist might agree that such use was acceptable.

Finally, consider power. At a particular university, if a professor wants a computer account, all she or he need do is request one but a student must obtain faculty sponsorship in order to receive an account. An absolutist (because of a proclivity for hierarchical thinking) might not have a problem with this divergence in procedure. A relativist, on the other hand, might question what makes the two situations essentially different (e.g. are faculty assumed to have more need for computers than students? Are students more likely to cause problems than faculty? Is this a hold-over from the days of "in loco parentis"?).

"Philosophical Bases of Computer Ethics", Professor Robert N. Barger.

Usenet newsgroups: bit.listserv.ethics-l, alt.soc.ethics.

Last updated: 1995-10-25

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computer file

file

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computer geek

<jargon>

(Or "turbo nerd", "turbo geek") One who eats (computer) bugs for a living. One who fulfils all the dreariest negative stereotypes about hackers: an asocial, malodourous, pasty-faced monomaniac with all the personality of a cheese grater. The term cannot be used by outsiders without implied insult to all hackers; compare black-on-black usage of "nigger". A computer geek may be either a fundamentally clueless individual or a proto-hacker in larval stage.

See also Alpha Geek, propeller head, clustergeeking, geek out, wannabee, terminal junkie, spod, weenie.

[Jargon File]

Last updated: 1997-06-26

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computer-generated imagery

<graphics>

(CGI) Animatied graphics produced by computer and used in film or television.

Last updated: 1998-10-13

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Computer Generation Incorporated

<company>

(CGI) A US software development company and systems integrator.

http://compgen.com/.

E-mail: Paul G. Smith <[email protected]>

Telephone: +1 (404) 705 2800

Address: Bldg. G, 4th Floor, 5775 Peachtree-Dunwoody Rd., Atlanta, GA 30342, USA.

Last updated: 1997-02-11

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Computer Graphics Metafile

<graphics, file format>

(CGM) A standard file format for storage and communication of graphical information, widely used on personal computers and accepted by desktop publishing and technical illustration systems.

MIME type: image/cgm.

ANSI/ISO 8632-1987. Worked on by the ISO/IEC group JTC1/SC24.

CGM Open Consortium.

See also: WebCGM.

Last updated: 1999-02-16

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Computer Integrated Manufacturing

<application>

(CIM) Use of computers to control multiple aspects of a production process in a factory. A CIM system may control and/or monitor areas such as design, analysis, planning, purchasing, cost accounting, inventory control, distribution, materials handling and management.

Last updated: 2003-06-07

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computer language

programming language

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Computer Language for AeronauticS and Programming

<language>

(CLASP) A real-time language from NASA, focussing on fixed-point mathematics. CLASP is a near subset of SPL, with some ideas from PL/I.

["Flight Computer and Language Processor Study", Raymond J. Rubey, Management Information Services, Detroit, 1971].

Last updated: 1994-10-13

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computer law

<legal>

Legal aspects of the production, sale and use of computers; including areas such as software law, copyright, patents, sale of goods, communication law and general media issues such as free speech.

Last updated: 2012-08-30

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computer literacy

<education>

Basic skill in use of computers, from the perspective of such skill being a necessary societal skill.

The term was coined by Andrew Molnar, while director of the Office of Computing Activities at the National Science Foundation.

"We started computer literacy in '72 [...] We coined that phrase. It's sort of ironic. Nobody knows what computer literacy is. Nobody can define it. And the reason we selected [it] was because nobody could define it, and [...] it was a broad enough term that you could get all of these programs together under one roof" (cited in Aspray, W., (September 25, 1991) "Interview with Andrew Molnar," OH 234. Center for the History of Information Processing, Charles Babbage Institute, University of Minnesota).

The term, as a coinage, is similar to earlier coinages, such as "visual literacy", which Merriam-Webster dates to 1971, and the more recent "media literacy".

A more useful definition from http://www.computerliteracyusa.com/ is:

Computer literacy is an understanding of the concepts, terminology and operations that relate to general computer use. It is the essential knowledge needed to function independently with a computer. This functionality includes being able to solve and avoid problems, adapt to new situations, keep information organized and communicate effectively with other computer literate people.

Last updated: 2007-03-23

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Computer Management Group of Australia

<body>

(CMGA) An Australian group that organises conferences, exhibitions, meetings and seminars about IT management for its corporate and individual members.

CMGA Home.

Last updated: 2012-10-25

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Computer Mediated Communication

<messaging>

(CMC) Communication that takes place through, or is facilitated by, computers. Examples include e-mail, the web, real-time chat tools like IRC, Windows Live Messenger and video conferencing.

Last updated: 2012-10-25

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computer nerd

computer geek

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computer network

network

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Computer Output on Microfilm

Enterprise Report Management

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Enterprise Report Management

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Enterprise Report Management

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Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility

<body>

(CPSR) A non-profit organisation whose mission is to provide the public and policymakers with realistic assessments of the power, promise and problems of Information Technology and the effects of computers on society.

CPSR was founded in the USA in 1981 but has spread to many other countries. CPSR is supported by its membership. CPSR sponsors conferences such as their Annual Meeting, Directions and Implications in Advanced Computing (DIAC), the Participatory Design Conference (PDC) and the Computers, Freedom and Privacy (CFP) conference.

CPSR Home.

Last updated: 2012-11-04

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computer program

software

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computer programming language

<spelling>

A somewhat redundant term for programming language.

Last updated: 2014-10-18

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Computer + Science NETwork

<body>

(CSNET) The networking organisation which combined with BITNET to form CREN.

Last updated: 1994-11-30

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computer security

security

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computer sex

<jargon>

Two computers interfaced with each other.

Last updated: 1996-02-22

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Computer Software Configuration Item

<jargon, software>

(CSCI) A configuration item consisting of software.

Last updated: 2012-11-07

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Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning

<education>

(CSCL) Any form of Computer-Aided Instruction that emphasises group learning as opposed to working alone.

Last updated: 2011-11-25

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Computer Supported Cooperative Work

<tool>

(CSCW) (Or "groupware") Software tools and technology to support groups of people working together on a project, often at different sites.

See also Lotus Notes.

Last updated: 1994-11-30

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Computer Telephone Integration

<communications>

(CTI or "- Telephony -") Enabling computers to know about and control telephony functions such as making and receiving voice, fax and data calls, telephone directory services and caller identification.

CTI is used in call centres to link incoming calls to computer software functions such as database look-up of the caller's number, supported by services such as Automatic Number Identification and Dialled Number Identification Service.

Application software (middleware) can link personal computers and servers with telephones and/or a PBX. Telephony and software vendors such as AT&T, British Telecom, IBM, Novell, Microsoft and Intel have developed CTI services.

The main CTI functions are integrating messaging with databases, word processors etc.; controlling voice, fax, and e-mail messaging systems from a single application program; graphical call control - using a graphical user interface to perform functions such as making and receiving calls, forwarding and conferencing; call and data association - provision of information about the caller from databases or other applications automatically before the call is answered or transferred; speech synthesis and speech recognition; automatic logging of call related information for invoicing purposes or callback.

CTI can improve customer service, increase productivity, reduce costs and enhance workflow automation.

IBM were one of the first with workable CTI, now sold as "CallPath". Callware's Phonetastic is another middleware product.

CTI came out of the 1980s call centre boom, where it linked central servers and IVRs with PBXes to provide call transfer and screen popping. In the 1990s, efforts were made by several vendors, such as IBM, Novell TSAPI and Microsoft TAPI, to provide a version for desktop computers that would allow control of a desktop telephone and assist in hot desking.

See also Telephony Application Programming Interface.

Last updated: 2012-11-18

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Computer Telephony

Computer Telephone Integration

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Computer Telephony Integration

Computer Telephone Integration

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computer virus

virus

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computer vision

<application>

A branch of artificial intelligence and image processing concerned with computer processing of images from the real world. Computer vision typically requires a combination of low level image processing to enhance the image quality (e.g. remove noise, increase contrast), pattern recognition to recognise features such as lines, areas and colours and image understanding to translate these features into knowledge about the objects in the scene.

Usenet newsgroup: comp.ai.vision.

Last updated: 2012-12-25

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compute server

<computer, parallel>

A kind of parallel processor where the parallel processors have no I/O except via a bus or other connection to a front-end processor which handles all I/O to disks, terminals and network.

In some antiquated IBM mainframes, a second CPU was provided that could not access I/O devices, known as the slave or attached processor, while the CPU having access to all devices was known as the master processor.

Last updated: 1995-03-19

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computing

computer

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Computing Devices Canada Ltd.

General Dynamics Canada Ltd.

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computing dictionary

Free On-line Dictionary of Computing

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computron

<jargon>

/kom'pyoo-tron"/ 1. A notional unit of computing power combining execution speed and storage capacity. E.g. "That machine can't run GNU Emacs, it doesn't have enough computrons!"

2. A mythical subatomic particle that carries computation or information, in much the same way that an electron carries electric charge (see also bogon).

[Jargon File]

Last updated: 2013-03-02

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Compuware Corporation

<company>

A US software and service company established in 1973. Since 1973, Compuware focused on optimising business software development, testing and operation. In 1999 the company had grown to over 15,000 employees worldwide and revenues of more than $1.6B. By 2013 it had shrunk to less than 5000.

Current (2013) products and services include performance optimisation, availability and quality of web, non-web, mobile, streaming and cloud applications; project portfolio management, professional services automation; mainframe applications and developer tools; rapid application development and professional services.

http://compuware.com/.

Last updated: 2013-03-08

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