History Vocabulary

Abacus A manual aid to calculating that consists of beads or disks that can be moved up and down on a series of sticks or strings within a usually wooden frame8
Bit Binary Digit; a single digital piece of information3; represented by 1's and 0's
Byte 8 bits3
CPU Central Processing Unit; The heart of the computer, this is the component that actually executes instructions.7
DOS Acronym for Disk Operating System - used in IBM PC's.1
ENIAC Electronic Numerical Integrator And Calculator; began construction in 1943 and completed in 1946. Occupied about 1,800 square feet and used about 18,000 vacuum tubes, weighing almost 50 tons. Created to help with the war efforts against German forces.4
Floppy Disk A small, portable computer disk which can be used for storing documents and other computer files2
Hard Drive a large capacity storage device made of multiple disks housed in a rigid case1 The hard drive can also be used for storing documents. Usually known as a the c: drive.2
Memory Enables a computer to store, at least temporarily, data and programs.7
Mouse A small, hand held device used to move the cursor and select items3
PC Personal Computer; A small, single-user computer based on a microprocessor.7
RAM Random Access Memory; A temporary storage area where your computer can read and write file and application information5
ROM Read Only Memory; Memory that can only be read from and not written to.1
Slide Rule A manual device used for calculation that consists in its simple form of a ruler and a movable middle piece which are graduated with similar logarithmic scales6
Supercomputer An extremely fast computer that can perform hundreds of millions of instructions per second7
Typewriter A machine for writing in characters similar to those produced by printer's type by means of keyboard-operated types striking a ribbon to transfer ink or carbon impressions onto the paper6
UNIVAC Universal Automatic Computer; A trademark of Unisys corporation; it was released in 1951 and 1952. Contains thousands of vacuum tubes that utilize punch cards and switches4
Vacuum Tube A glass tube from which all gas has been removed, creating a vacuum. Contained electrodes for controlling electron flow and were commonly used in early computers as a switch or an amplifier.4