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Key terms and Spelling List - Year 10 Computer Science
  • System Architecture and Memory
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    Central Processing Unit (CPU)Central processing unit - the brain of the computer that processes program instructions. Also called a microprocessor. 
    Flash MemoryA form of memory in a computer that uses electronic transistors to store data. 
    RAM Random Access Memory (RAM): Memory that is constantly being written to and read from. It does not retain its contents without a constant supply of power, eg when a computer is turned off, everything stored in its RAM is lost. 
    Virtual MemoryA section of a computer storage drive which is temporarily used as RAM. 
    CacheA piece of temporary memory. It can refer to a part of the RAM, storage disk, CPU, or an area for storing web pages. 
    CoreA processing unit within a CPU. CPUs can have multiple cores. 
  • Algorithms and Producing Robust Programs
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    DecompositionThe breaking down of a system into smaller parts that are easier to understand, program and maintain. 
    FlowchartAlso known as a flow diagram. A diagram that shows the step-by-step flow of an algorithm 
    PseudocodeAlso written as pseudo-code. A method of writing up a set of instructions for a computer program using plain English. This is a good way of planning a program before coding. 
    AlgorithmA sequence of logical instructions for carrying out a task. In computing, algorithms are needed to design computer programs. 
    Programming languageA language used by a programmer to write a piece of software. 
  • Storage and System Software
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    Hard disk driveA device used to store large amounts of data. 
    ROMRead only memory. This is non-volatile memory or storage containing data that cannot be changed. 
    RAMRandom access memory. This is volatile memory that is constantly being written to and read from. It does not retain its contents without a constant supply of power. When a computer is turned off, everything stored in its RAM is lost. 
    non-volatile memoryA form of computer memory that stores data even when not powered. 
    Volatile memoryThe memory used to store computer program data while it is being executed. RAM is the main type of volatile memory. It is volatile because when power is switched off it no longer retains any data. 
    Secondary storageNon-volatile memory external to the computer and used for long-term storage of programs and data. 
    Embedded systemA special purpose computer built into another device. 
    MediaPhysical devices that are used to transfer data. 
  • Wired and Wireless Networks
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    Wi-FiA method of connecting to the internet wirelessly using radio waves. 
    WANWide area network. A network that spans across a building, buildings or even countries, eg the internet. 
    LANLocal area network. A network of computers that covers a small area, eg a school or college. 
    HubA piece of hardware used in computer networks used to connect multiple devices. 
    client-serverA form of computer networking where the data or web application is hosted on a server and accessed by client computers. 
    bandwidthBandwidth measures the amount of data that can transfer through a communications channel over a given period of time. 
    Network interface cardA circuit board that is installed in a computer so it can be connected to a network. 
    Peer-to-peer (P2P)A type of network model where all computers on the network share responsibility and there is no one central server. 
  • Network Topologies and Data Representation
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    bit The smallest unit of data in computing represented by a 1 in binary. 
    byteA unit of data containing 8 bits. 
    binaryA number system that contains two symbols, 0 and 1. Also known as base 2. 
    character setA table of data that links a character to a number. This allows the computer system to convert text into binary. Examples are ASCII and Unicode 
    compressionA method of reducing file sizes, particularly in digital media such as photos, audio and video. 
    protocolA set of rules for how messages are turned into data packets and sent across networks. 
    star topologyA network where each node is connected to a central switch 
    topologyThe structure, or arrangement, of a network. 
  • Programming Development