Big bag of pages

(BIBOP) Where data objects are tagged with some kind of descriptor (giving their size or type for example) memory can be saved by storing objects with the same descriptor in one "page" of memory. The most significant bits of an object's address are used as the BIBOP page number. This is looked up in a BIBOP table to find the descriptor for all objects in that page.

This idea is similar to the "zones" used in some Lisp systems (e.g. LeLisp).

[David R. Hanson. "A portable storage management system for the Icon programming language". Software - Practise and Experience, 10:489-500 1980].

Last updated: 1994-11-29

big blue

International Business Machines


<data, architecture>

1. A computer architecture in which, within a given multi-byte numeric representation, the most significant byte has the lowest address (the word is stored "big-end-first").

Most processors, including the IBM 370 family, the PDP-10, the Motorola microprocessor families, and most of the various RISC designs current in mid-1993, are big-endian.

See -endian.

<networking, standard>

2. A backward electronic mail address. The world now follows the Internet hostname standard (see FQDN) and writes e-mail addresses starting with the name of the computer and ending up with the country code (e.g. [email protected]). In the United Kingdom the Joint Networking Team decided to do it the other way round (e.g. [email protected]) before the Internet domain standard was established. Most gateway sites required ad-hockery in their mailers to handle this.

By July 1994 this parochial idiosyncracy was on the way out and mailers started to reject big-endian addresses. By about 1996, people would look at you strangely if you suggested such a bizarre thing might ever have existed.

[Jargon File]

Last updated: 1998-08-09

Big Gray Wall


What faces a VMS user searching for documentation. A full VMS kit comes on a pallet, the documentation taking up around 15 feet of shelf space before the addition of layered products such as compilers, databases, multi-vendor networking, and programming tools. Recent (since VMS version 5) DEC documentation comes with grey binders; under VMS version 4 the binders were orange and under version 3 they were blue. Often contracted to "Gray Wall".

[Jargon File]

Last updated: 1995-03-07

big iron


(Or "heavy metal [Cambridge]) Large, expensive, ultra-fast computers. Used generally of number crunching supercomputers such as Crays, but can include more conventional big commercial IBMish mainframes. The term implies approval, in contrast to "dinosaur".

[Jargon File]

Last updated: 2000-11-09


["BIG-LAN Frequently Asked Questions Memo", BIG-LAN DIGEST V4:I8, February 14, 1992.]



A Scheme interpreter, compiler and run-time system by Manuel Serrano <[email protected]> which aims to deliver small, fast stand-alone applications. It supports modules and optimisation. Bigloo's features enable Scheme programs to be used where C or C++ might usually be required.

The Bigloo compiler produces ANSI C which is compiled into stand-alone executables, JVM bytecode, or .NET bytecode. Hence Bigloo enables Scheme programs to interwork with C, Java and C# programs.

Bigloo conforms to the IEEE Scheme standard with some extensions for regular expression handling. It runs on Sun, Sony News, SGI, Linux, HP-UX and is easy to port to any Unix system.

Bigloo Home.

Last updated: 2005-04-05



/big'nuhm/ (Originally from MIT MacLISP) A multiple-precision computer representation for very large integers.

Most computer languages provide a type of data called "integer", but such computer integers are usually limited in size; usually they must be smaller than 2^31 (2,147,483,648) or (on a bitty box) 2^15 (32,768). If you want to work with numbers larger than that, you have to use floating-point numbers, which are usually accurate to only six or seven decimal places. Computer languages that provide bignums can perform exact calculations on very large numbers, such as 1000! (the factorial of 1000, which is 1000 times 999 times 998 times ... times 2 times 1). For example, this value for 1000! was computed by the MacLISP system using bignums:

40238726007709377354370243392300398571937486421071 46325437999104299385123986290205920442084869694048 00479988610197196058631666872994808558901323829669 94459099742450408707375991882362772718873251977950 59509952761208749754624970436014182780946464962910 56393887437886487337119181045825783647849977012476 63288983595573543251318532395846307555740911426241 74743493475534286465766116677973966688202912073791 43853719588249808126867838374559731746136085379534 52422158659320192809087829730843139284440328123155 86110369768013573042161687476096758713483120254785 89320767169132448426236131412508780208000261683151 02734182797770478463586817016436502415369139828126 48102130927612448963599287051149649754199093422215 66832572080821333186116811553615836546984046708975 60290095053761647584772842188967964624494516076535 34081989013854424879849599533191017233555566021394 50399736280750137837615307127761926849034352625200 01588853514733161170210396817592151090778801939317 81141945452572238655414610628921879602238389714760 88506276862967146674697562911234082439208160153780 88989396451826324367161676217916890977991190375403 12746222899880051954444142820121873617459926429565 81746628302955570299024324153181617210465832036786 90611726015878352075151628422554026517048330422614 39742869330616908979684825901254583271682264580665 26769958652682272807075781391858178889652208164348 34482599326604336766017699961283186078838615027946 59551311565520360939881806121385586003014356945272 24206344631797460594682573103790084024432438465657 24501440282188525247093519062092902313649327349756 55139587205596542287497740114133469627154228458623 77387538230483865688976461927383814900140767310446 64025989949022222176590433990188601856652648506179 97023561938970178600408118897299183110211712298459 01641921068884387121855646124960798722908519296819 37238864261483965738229112312502418664935314397013 74285319266498753372189406942814341185201580141233 44828015051399694290153483077644569099073152433278 28826986460278986432113908350621709500259738986355 42771967428222487575867657523442202075736305694988 25087968928162753848863396909959826280956121450994 87170124451646126037902930912088908694202851064018 21543994571568059418727489980942547421735824010636 77404595741785160829230135358081840096996372524230 56085590370062427124341690900415369010593398383577 79394109700277534720000000000000000000000000000000 00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000.

[Jargon File]

Last updated: 1996-06-27


A person who is religiously attached to a particular computer, language, operating system, editor, or other tool (see religious issues). Usually found with a specifier; thus, "Cray bigot", "ITS bigot", "APL bigot", "VMS bigot", "Berkeley bigot". Real bigots can be distinguished from mere partisans or zealots by the fact that they refuse to learn alternatives even when the march of time and/or technology is threatening to obsolete the favoured tool. It is truly said "You can tell a bigot, but you can't tell him much." Compare weenie.

[Jargon File]

Big Red Switch


(BRS) IBM jargon for the power switch on a computer, especially the "Emergency Pull" switch on an IBM mainframe or the power switch on an IBM PC where it really is large and red.

"This [email protected]%$% bitty box is hung again; time to hit the Big Red Switch."

It is alleged that the emergency pull switch on an IBM 360/91 actually fired a non-conducting bolt into the main power feed; the BRSes on more recent mainframes physically drop a block into place so that they can't be pushed back in. People get fired for pulling them, especially inappropriately (see also molly-guard).

Compare power cycle, three-finger salute, 120 reset; see also scram switch.

[Jargon File]

Last updated: 2014-08-10

Big Room

<jargon, humour>

The extremely large room with the blue ceiling and intensely bright light (during the day) or black ceiling with lots of tiny night-lights (during the night) found outside all computer installations. "He can't come to the phone right now, he's somewhere out in the Big Room."

Last updated: 1996-03-04

big win


An MIT term for a Good Thing or a lucky accident.

[Jargon File]

Last updated: 1996-03-06

Nearby terms:

BIFFbiffBig bag of pagesbig bluebig-endianBig Gray Wall

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