minicomputer: a small computer somewhere in size between a large scale mainframe
computer and a microcomputer; with the components of a full-sized system but a
smaller memory. (The term is falling into disuse as the distinction between large and
"supermini" computers blurs.)
**modem: a device that transmits and receives computer data over ordinary telephone
lines by changing digital signals into analog and vice versa.
mouse: hand-held device used to alter the position of a cursor on the screen. Buttons
permit user to issue commands.
nanosecond: one billionth of a second (one thousandth of a microsecond); unit of
computer access time.
network: several computers and terminals linked by communication channels either on
a remote or local basis.
off-line: operations performed apart from the computer.
on-line: in direct communication with the computer; cabled to the computer;
information that is immediately accessible (stored on a secondary storage that supports
direct access to the information).
on-line processing: the entry of data directly into the computer from a terminal in
direct communication with the CPU; rapid and random inputting of data without sorting,
not instantaneous like real time processing; data manipulation is fast enough to affect
the outcome, but not instantaneous.
operating system: a collection of programs that permits a computer to manage itself,
reduces CPU idle time, and increases utilization of computer facilities.
peripherals: input-output units, secondary storage devices, and other auxiliary
**program: a sequence of detailed instructions for performing an operation or solving a
problem by computer.