[INDEX] [INDEX]
GDT::Glossary


Glossary of Selected Computing and Social Science Terms
Webopedia Merriam-Webster OnLine
Wikipedia File Extensions Resource
Jargon Dictionary Units of Measurement
Sharpened Glossary Using English

HELP!!!  I will never get this glossary done (it was a mistake to start it and I have given up on it). If you would like to take it over, then let me know. [Thanks to Kris Barr (CSC150 @ MCC, 15 May 1998) for making some nice additions and edits.]


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ANSI
American National Standards Institute. An ANSI standard for C was completed in 1989. An ANSI standard for C++ is a work-in-progress and could be completed in 1998.
ASCII
American Standard Code for Information Interchange. This is a coding scheme that is used to define how characters are internally represented. A character is internally represented by storing the binary equivalent of its numeric code in a byte. Example:   a capital 'A' has the numeric code 65 decimal. ASCII and EBCDIC (Extended Binary Coded Decimal Interchange Code) are the two most popular coding schemes. ASCII is a 7-bit character code that allows for 128 characters and IBM's EBCDIC is is an 8-bit character code. ASCII Chart
algorithm
A procedure for solving a problem in terms of the actions to be executed and the order in which they are executed.

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basic type
The C programming language provides a rich set of basic types. These types are:
	      integral types:  char    short    int    long      
	floating-point types:  float   double  long double
Basic types are also referred to as base, primitive, atomic, fundamental.
binary
A number system of two distinct values, 1 or 0.
bit
The smallest element of memory, which can either be on or off, represented with binary representation.
bit field
A member of a structure or union that contains a specified number of bits.
bitwise operator
An operator that manipulates the value of an object at the level.
bug
See defect.
byte
A sequence of 1s and 0s, most commonly composed of 8 bits.

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class
A class is a blueprint or prototype that defines the variables and methods common to all objects of a certain kind.
comment
A C comment is a string that begins with  /* and ends with  */ . Comments are for human consumption only and are converted to a space by the preprocessor.
compiler
A compiler is a program that translates source code into machine language.
constant
A symbol or variable or expression that cannot be modified. A   manifest constant is a preprocessor symbol that takes on an integer or string value. 999 is an example of an integer constant. "hello" is a string constant. 'a' is a character constant.
control structures
The way in which statements are executed. The three control structures are the , the selection structure, and the repetition structure.
CPU
The central processing unit of the computer. It performs the actual computation and controls the activity of the entire computer.

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data declaration
A declaration consists of a type name followed by a list of one or more variables of that type, separated by commas.

Or, an identifier is given a name and a type. A declaration does not necessarily result in the allocation of storage.

data definition
An identifier is given a name, a type and is allocated storage.
defect
A problem with a program, normally an issue with syntax or logic, which causes it to run in a way that is undesireable or not at all.
dereference
The application of the unary operator * to a pointer to access the object the pointer points to.
derived type
A derived type is constructed using the basic C types. Arrays and structures are examples of derived types.
dynamic memory allocation
Re-sizing the amount of memory reserved during the original memory allocation.

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element
The component of an array.
escape sequence
A sequence of character combinations that represent white-space and non-graphic characters. An escape sequence consists of a backslash character (\) followed by a letter or by a combination of digits. Frequently used escape sequences are: newline (\n), horizontal tab (\t) formfeed (\f), backspace (\b), and bell (\a). Escape sequences are also used to print certain characters when they are contained in string literals (e.g. \' single quote, \\ backslash, \" double quote).
executable file
A file containing machine language that can be read into memory by the loader and executed by the CPU.
expression
A combination of operands and operators that yields ("expresses") a single value. Let EXPR be short for expression.

When an EXPR is evaluated, the resulting value depends on the relative precedence of operators in the EXPR and on "sequence points" and "side effects," if any. The precedence of operators determines how operands are grouped for evaluation. Side effects are changes caused by the evaluation of an EXPR.

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file
A generic name for any collection of information stored in the computer's secondary storage. File naming conventions are implementation-dependent; however, typically, C and C++ source files end with ".c" and ".cpp" suffixes, respectively. C and C++ header files end with a ".h" suffix. Java source files end with ".java".
function
A function is a collection of 0 or more statements that are grouped together to execute a specific task.
function prototype
A function declaration that provides type information for each parameter and is required by the compiler at the time that the function is declared, so that the compiler can check the type.
function signature
The  signature  of a function is defined to consist of the name of a function and its ordered set of parameter data types.

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header file
Generally, a source file that is used to obtain an interface to a library, or to share information between source files.
heap space
Memory reserved for dynamically allocated memory.

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identifier
An identifier is a name that is given to a variable, constant, or function .
include statement
A statement that causes the preprocessor to replace the statement with the contents of a specified file.
ISO
International Standards Organization. The ISO standard for C was completed shortly after the ANSI C standard in 1990.

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keyword
Reserved words which are used to implement various features in the language, and can't be used as variable names. Examples of keywords are if, else, switch, while, do, and for.

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library
A collection of program components that can be re-used in many programs. In C, these program components are called functions.
linker error
Linker program error.
loader
A program that copies an executable file into memory for execution.

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main function
A function with the identifier main that is the first user function to get control when program execution begins. Each C and C++ program must have exactly one function named main.
manifest constant
A macro constant which is defined using '#define', normally in a header file. Upon compiling, the compiler will replace the manifest constant with the value defined.
member
A data object or in a , union, or class.
memory allocation
Setting aside space in the memory of the computer for the use of the program.

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newline character
A character that in the output stream indicates that printing should start at the beginning of the next line. The newline character is designated by '\n'.
null character
The ASCII character '\0'. It is used to represent the absence of a printed or displayed character.

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object
An object is a software bundle of variables and related methods.
object file
A file that contains the machine language for a specific source file. For example, the source file x.c could be compiled into the object file x.o (or x.obj). Usually, an object file is combined with other object files to produce an executable file.
operand
An operand is a constant or variable value that is manipulated in an expression (EXPR). Let OP stand for operand. Each OP of an EXPR is also an EXPR, since it represents a single value. OPs include constants, identifiers, function calls and so on. Every OP has a type.
operator
An operator specifies how the operand or operands of an expression are manipulated. Let OPER represent operator. OPERs take one operand (unary), two operands (binary) or three operands (ternary).
operator precedence
An order relation defining the sequence of the application of operators within an expression.

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pointer
A variable that holds the address of a data object or a function.
portability
The ability of a program to compile successfully on different operating systems without requiring changes to the source code.
precedence
The priority system for grouping different types of operators with their operands.
preprocessor
The preprocessor is the earliest phase of the compilation process. It performs tasks such file inclusion, macro expansion, conditional compilation, string concatentation, comment stripping, and so on.
prototype
A function declaration or definition that includes both the return type of the function and the types of its parameters.
pseudocode
An informal language, similar to everyday English, that helps the programmer to develop or "think out" algorithms.

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recursion
A programming algorithm where a function either directly or indirectly calls itself.
repetition structure
A control structure which is used to specify that an action is to be repeated while some condition remains true.
Dennis Ritchie
The father of C.
run-time
The time during which a program is executing.
run-time error
Program error that occurs when a program is executing.

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scope
The part of a program in which a is visible.
selection structure
A control structure which is used to choose among alternative courses of action.
sentinel value
A special pre-defined value that usually is used to terminate a loop and/or indicate the last element of an array/list.
sequence
A control structure where the statements are executed one after theother in the order which they were written.
sequence point
A guarantee provided by the language regarding the order in which expressions are evaluated, e.g. using "," guarantees that the expression to the left of the operator will be evaluated before the expression to the right of the operator.
software
Instructions you write to command computers (hardware) to perform actions and make decisions (C allows instructions to be written in a "high-level" 3rd generation language).
source file
A file containing program text.
stack space
Function parameters and auto (i.e. local) variables are stored in stack space.
Standard C Library
"Pre-packaged" functions available from the C language which can be used for math calculations, manipulations, input/output, etc.
statement
An instruction to the computer. Every statement ends with a semicolon.
storage class
An identifier's attribute which determines the period during which that it exists in memory. auto, register, extern, and static are storage class specifiers.
string literal
A sequence of zero or more characters enclosed in double quotation marks.
structure
A constructed data type that contains an ordered group of arbitrary data objects.
structured programming
All structured programs can be written using a combination of three control structures: sequential, selective, and repetitive (C supports structured programming).
syntax error
Compiler error.

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token
The C compiler groups characters into tokens. A token is a sequence of one or more characters that have uniform meaning. When collecting characters into tokens, the compiler always forms the largest token possible. C is a free-format language, meaning that tokens can go anywhere on a page and can be separated by any number of whitespaces.
type qualifier
C has two type qualifiers: const and volatile.

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variable
A variable is an entity used by a program to store values used in the computation. Every variable in C/C++ has a type and it must be declared before it is used.
void
A C keyword that is used on the following contexts: as a function return type on functions that do not return a value; in a function prototype and definition on functions that do not take any arguments; and, as the type of pointer variables.

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white space
The complete set of whitespace characters can vary from implementation to implementation; however, every set typically includes the following characters: blank (space), horizontal and vertical tab, newline and formfeed.

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Creator: Gerald Thurman [gthurman@gmail.com]