# C

This glossary is far from complete. We are constantly adding computing terms.


CD-ROM
A compact disc - read only memory.

clip-art
A catalogue of basic, ready-made graphic images which can be pasted into other software applications. Often used in desktop publishing to help create posters, flyers, advertisements etc.

CPU (Central Processing Unit)
The chip which controls the computer. It consists of the ALU (arithmetic and logic unit), the control unit and some memory registers. Also known as the microprocessor or just the processor. Intel is the main manufacturer of CPUs in the world today, with processors such as the Intel Pentium, Celeron, and Dual Core.

Character set
Since in reality all a computer can store are series of zeros and ones, representing common things like text takes a little work. The solution is to view the series of zeros and ones instead as a sequence of bytes, and map each one to a particular letter, number, or symbol. The full mapping is called a character set. The most popular character set is commonly referred to as ASCII. The second most popular character set these days is Unicode (and it probably surpass ASCII in popularity these days). Other fairly common character sets include EBCDIC and PETSCII. They are generally quite different from one another; programs exist to convert between them on most platforms, though. Usually EBCDIC is only found on really old machines.

chip
Thin slice of silicon on which an integrated circuit (IC) has been etched. Can be used as a processing unit or for memory.

CISC
Complex instruction set computing is one of the two main types of processor design in use today. It is slowly losing popularity to RISC designs; currently all the fastest processors in the world are RISC. The most popular current CISC processor is the x86, but there are also still some 68xx, 65xx, and Z80s in use.

COBOL
The Common Business Oriented Language is a language developed back in 1959 and still used by some businesses. While it is relatively portable, it is still disliked by many professional programmers simply because COBOL programs tend to be physically longer than equivalent programs written in almost any other language in common use.