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Arithmetic logic unit An arithmetic and logic unit (ALU) is a fundamental building block of the central processing unit of a computer. It is a digital circuit that performs integer arithmetic and logical operations.
Atomic Linked to creating electricity from nuclear power


Base10 The decimal numeral system has ten as its base. It is the numerical base most widely used by modern civilization around the world.
Basic BASIC is a general-purpose programming language designed to be easy to use; the name is an acronym from Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code.
Binary A number system that uses just two numeric values using two symbols: typically 0 and 1
Binary computer A computer that operates processing 1 and 0 binary code
Bletchley Park Bletchley Park is an estate located in the town of Bletchley. The site currently houses the Bletchley Park Museum, the National Museum of Computing.
During the Second World War, Bletchley Park was the site of the United Kingdom's main decryption establishment, the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS), where cyphers and codes of several enemy countries were decrypted, most importantly the cyphers generated by the German Enigma and Lorenz machines.
Bletchley Park also housed a secret radio intercept station, and also a message sending station.


Cipher An algorithm for performing encryption or decryption e.g. a way of making or breaking a code. In non-technical use it means a code.
Component A part of a larger overall system
Computer A computer is a general purpose device that can be programmed to carry out set of arithmetic or logical operations.


Decimal The decimal numeral system has ten as its base. It is the numerical base most widely used by modern civilization around the world.
Digital Algorithm A digital algorithm is logic written in software by software developers to be effective in specific computer systems
Digital computer A computer that operates on data that is expressed in binary form—i.e., using only the two digits 0 and 1.



Fortran A general-purpose programming language that is especially suited to numeric computation and scientific computing. Originally developed by IBM in the 1950s for scientific and engineering use, it has been in continual use for over half a century in computationally intensive areas such as weather forecasting, fluid dynamics, computational physics and computational chemistry. It is one of the most popular languages in the area of high-performance computing and is the language used for programs that benchmark and rank the world's fastest supercomputers.


'Garbage in Garbage out' The quality of the information you get out of a computer is only as good as the quality of information that you provide for the computer to process.
Golf Ball printer A type of printer head developed by IBM that rotated and pivoted to the correct position before striking. The type printed could be easily changed so as to print different fonts in the same document. This technology replaced the traditional typewriter's moving carriage which moved the sheet of paper for each character typed. With the Golf Ball printer the paper stayed in position while the typeball and ribbon mechanism moved from side to side.


Herman Houser The person that helped to create the Acorn computer company


Interface The part of a computer system where the user interacts with the software, or computer hardware, or with peripheral devices such as a computer monitor or a keyboard. Some computer interfaces such as a touchscreen can send and receive data, while others such as a mouse or microphone, can only send data.




Lorenz SS42 Machines that converted normal text documents into a code. It was used by the German army in World War 2 to secretly communicate German military plans and instructions to the armed forces. Britain used the Colossus computer to help break the German codes created by the Lorenz machine.


Machine code Instructions performed directly by a computer's central processing unit
Moore Law's Moore's law is the observation that, over the history of computing hardware, computing processor power appears to double approximately every 18 months.



Operating system Software that manages computer hardware resources for programs to control. The operating system is a vital component of the system software in a computer system. Application programs such as a word processor or web browser usually require an operating system to function.


PC clone Computers that are based on the original IBM PC. Clones are compatible with the original i.e. they can run the same software.



RAM Random Access Memory is a form of fast storage in a computer system. An operating system is usually loaded into a computer's RAM.
Relays A relay is an electrically operated switch. Relays were used in early computer systems to perform logical operations.
ROM Read-only memory (ROM) is a class of storage medium used in computers and other electronic devices. Data stored in ROM cannot usually be modified, so it is mainly used to distribute firmware (software that is very closely tied to specific hardware, and unlikely to need frequent updates).


Serial Computer communication technologies that use a single stream of data.
Smartphone Smartphone is a mobile phone using a mobile operating system, with more advanced computing capability and connectivity than a standard mobile phone. A smartphone typically will be able to offer GPS map services, web browsing, games, social media connectivity and the ability to take pictures and film video.
Subroutine a subroutine is a sequence of program instructions that perform a specific task, packaged as a unit. This unit can then be used in programs wherever that particular task should be performed. Subprograms may be defined within programs, or separately in libraries that can be used by multiple programs.


Terminal A hardware device for data entry and display in a computer system
Tubes A device controlling electric current through a vacuum in a sealed container. The container is often thin transparent glass in a roughly cylindrical shape.



Valve A device controlling electric current through a vacuum in a sealed container. The container is often thin transparent glass in a roughly cylindrical shape. Also known as vacuum tubes, thermionic valves, or simply tubes.