Worlds of David Darling > Children's
Encyclopedia of Science > Computers of the Future > Glossary
COMPUTERS OF THE FUTURE:
Intelligent Machines and Virtual Reality
a book in the Beyond 2000 series by David Darling
A robot that looks and behaves like a simple kind of animal.
artificial neural network
A type of computer that works in a similar way to a collection of brain
The field of study aimed at developing computers that can think and learn
in ways that we would consider intelligent.
A unit of computer data, equivalent to a single character, such as a letter
or a digit.
A compact disk on which information is recorded as tiny pits and blanks
on a mirror-like surface. ROM stands for "Read-Only Memory," which
means that, once encoded, a CD-ROM cannot have any other information stored
A small crystal, usually of silicon, on the surface of which have been formed
many thousands, or even millions, of electronic components, such as transistors.
The popular name for the imaginary place in which all computer-generated
information can be thought to exist.
Any items of information. In computer terms, data refers to the
information given to a computer to be processed.
A complete collection of information on a particular topic, stored in a
form that can be accessed by computer.
A special glove that can sense the position and movements of a wearer’s
hand so that the person can interact with a virtual reality system.
A special bodysuit equipped to detect the movements of a wearer's arms,
legs, and body so that the person can fully interact with a virtual reality
A storage device that provides access to various forms of storage media,
such as a hard disk or a CD-ROM.
Having to do with the control of electric currents by devices such as transistors.
electronic mail (email)
Messages sent among people working at nearby or distant computers that are
linked in a network.
A person who breaks into computer systems from a remote location with the
intention of creating mischief or stealing or damaging confidential information.
A stiff disk that is not normally removed from a computer system and that
can hold large amounts of data and software.
The machinery of a computer, or any part of the computer that can be seen
high-definition television (HDTV)
A television system that has twice the standard number of scanning lines
per frame and therefore produces pictures that have greater detail.
A small picture or symbol that is displayed on a computer screen to give
the user a clear choice of what to do next.
A popular name for the global high-speed data communication network that
will eventually link electronic information systems all over the world.
A type of invisible radiation. Infrared rays lie just beyond the red end
of the spectrum and can be felt as heat waves.
A type of program of computer that allows the user to control what happens
from one moment to the next.
The worldwide "network of networks" that links millions of computers and
computer users around the globe.
The internal, high-speed storage section of a computer.
The techniques used to design and manufacture chips that contain components
of microscopic size.
A single chip that functions as the processing section of a computer.
A device for changing computer data into a form that can be sent over a
A palm-sized device, with one or more buttons, that can be rolled on a flat
surface and used to select items, such as icons, displayed on a screen.
As applied to computers, the ability to work with different kinds of high-quality
sounds, pictures, and text, produced with the help of a variety of equipment,
A set of interconnected parts, such as computers, joined together by communication
The network of interconnected neurons in the brain.
A computer that processes information by using beams of light instead of
pulses of electricity.
A flexible, optically transparent fiber, usually made of glass or plastic,
through which light can be transmitted by successive internal reflections.
Performing a number of calculations in different parts of a computer at
the same time.
personal computer (PC)
A computer designed for use by an individual.
The step-by-step instructions that tell a computer how to carry out a certain
A device that detects conditions in the environment.
A substance, found in sand, from which almost all present-day chips are
A computer representation of a real or imaginary process.
Programs or commands that control or instruct computers.
At present, the largest and more powerful kind of computer.
An electronic device that, in a computer, works as a switch that can represent
and help process information.
A device that performs the same function as a transistor but that is switched
using beams of light instead of pulses of electricity.
virtual reality (VR)
The illusion of a real environment created by a computer, with which illusion
a person can interact.