STEM - Vocabulary

  • algorithm - a series of instructions to complete a task
  • binary - A way of representing information using only two options
  • bit - A contraction of "Binary Digit"; the single unit of information in a computer, typically represented as a 0 or 1
  • byte - a collection of 8 bits - data storage is measured in Bytes - generally an uppercase B indicates Bytes
    • KB (kilo) = approximately 1,000 bytes (thousands)
    • MB (mega) = approximately 1,000,000 bytes (millions)
    • GB (giga) = approximately 1,000,000,000 bytes (billions)
    • TB (tera) - approximately 1,000,000,000,000 bytes (trillions)
  • bug -part of a program that does not work correctly
  • computer: a device that accepts input, stores data, and processes it in some way to produce an output
  • computing: using computer algorithms to solve problems
  • computer hardware: the parts of a computer that you can actually touch
    • motherboard - the main circuit board - it connects all the other parts
    • CPU - the "brain" responsible for interpreting and executing commands from hardware and software
    • memory - the name for the electronic holding place for instructions and data that a computer's microprocessor can reach quickly
      • RAM - Random Access Memory - the temporary or "working" memory that allows multitasking
      • hard disk drive - the main data storage for a computer - HDD drives have spinning platters while SDD drives use a solid state flash memory
    • video/graphic card - sends images to the screen/monitor
    • drives - hardware devices that allow data to be read/written on some type of media (examples: optical, zip/thumb)
      *note: optical is often know more commonly as a CD/DVD/BluRayDVD
    • monitor/screen - displays the signals from the graphics/video card
    • peripherals - a device that can connect to the main computer (examples: keyboard, mouse, speakers, printer)
    • ports - serves as the interface between the computer and a peripheral (examples: USB, Thunderbolt, PS/2, VGA)
  • computer software - instructions for the computer and data
    • BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) - on startup it checks all your hardware connections and locates all your devices. If everything is OK, the BIOS loads the operating system into the computer's memory and finishes the boot-up process.
    • Operating system (OS) is the program that manages all the other programs in a computer
  • debugging - finding and fixing problems in an algorithm or program
  • decode - to change how information is represented so that it can be read by a person
  • encode - to change how information is represented so that it can be read by a computer
  • frustrated - feeling annoyed or angry because something is not the way you want it
  • hypothesis - a guess about how one action may cause another action to occur
  • input - A device or component that allows information to be given to a computer
  • loop - the action of doing something over and over again
  • output - Any device or component that receives information from a computer
  • persistence - trying again and again, even when something is very hard
  • pixel - a tiny square or dot which contains a single point of color of a larger image
  • problem solving and design process - define, prepare, try, reflect (steps that are repeated often - iterative (looping))
  • program - an algorithm that has been coded into something that can be run by a machine
  • programming - the art of creating a program
  • protocol - A set of rules governing the exchange or transmission of data between device, or the correct conduct and procedures in a social situation