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Reference / Glossary

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Cross References
packet n. In data communication, a sequence of binary digits, including data and control signals, that is transmitted and switched as a composite whole. The data, control signals, and, possibly, error control information are arranged in a specific format.
palette n. A set of mutually exclusive, typically graphical, choices.
panel 1. n. A formatted display of information that appears on a display screen. 2. n. In computer graphics, a display image that defines the locations and characteristics of display fields on a display surface.
parallel [1] 1. adj. Pertaining to a process in which all events occur within the same interval of time, each handled by a separate but similar functional unit; for example, the parallel transmission of the bits of a computer word along the lines of an internal bus. 2. adj. Pertaining to concurrent or simultaneous operation of two or more devices or to concurrent performance of two or more activities in a single device.
parallel [2] 3. adj. Pertaining to concurrent or simultaneous occurrence of two or more related activities in multiple devices or channels. 4. adj. Pertaining to the simultaneity of two or more processes. 5. adj. Pertaining to the simultaneous processing of the individual parts of a whole, such as the bits of a character and the characters of a word, using separate facilities for the various parts.
parallel port n. An access point through which a computer transmits or receives data that consists of several bits sent simultaneously on separate wires.
parameter [1] 1. n. A variable that is given a constant value for a specified application and that may denote the application. 2. n. In Common User Access (CUA) architecture, a variable used in conjunction with a command to affect its result. 3. n. An item in a menu for which the user specifies a value or for which the system provides a value when the menu is interpreted.
parameter [2] 4. n. Data passed to a program or procedure by a user or another program, namely as an operand in a language statement, as an item in a menu, or as a shared data structure. 5. n. In Tivoli NetView for OS/390, a part of a command's object.
parse v. To analyze the operands entered with a command and create a parameter list for the command processor from the information.
partition n. A fixed-size division of storage.
password n. For computer or network security, a specific string of characters entered by a user and authenticated by the system in determining the user's privileges, if any, to access and manipulate the data and operations of the system.
Paste n. A choice that places the contents of the clipboard at the current cursor position.
patch n. A code change that is sent to the owners of a software product license after the release of a product. The licensees can then apply this code change to correct a reported problem.
path [1] 1. n. A list of one or more directory names and an object name (such as the name of a file) that are separated by an operating system-specific character, such as the slash (/) in UNIX operating systems, the backslash (\) in Windows operating systems, and the semicolon (;) in OS/2 operating systems. The directory names detail the path to follow, in left-to-right order, to locate the object within the file system. This concept of path is also known as the"pathname."
path [2] 2. n. A list of directory names, usually separated by a colon (:), that are to be searched (in left-to-right order) to locate an object. This concept of path is also known as the "searchpath." 3. n. In a network, a route between two nodes.
path [3] 4. n. In SNA, the series of transport network components (path control and data link control) that are traversed by the information exchanged between two network accessible units. 5. n. In VTAM, when defining a switched major node, a potential dial-out port that can be used to reach that node.
payment card n. In e-commerce, a credit card, debit card, or charge card (a) that is issued by a financial institution and shows a relationship between the cardholder and the financial institution and (b) for which a certificate can be issued from an authenticated certificate authority.
payment server n. In e-commerce, the electronic equivalent of a cash register that organizes and accepts payment for the goods and services selected for purchase. A payment server uses other components, such as a payment gateway and a payment management system, to complete the financial transactions.
Pb See petabit.
PB See petabyte.
PBX See private branch exchange.
PC 1. See path control. 2. See personal computer.
PC Card n. A credit-card-sized adapter that adds function to a mobile computing device. PC Cards can also be used with other personal computing devices that support them. This type of card was formerly called a PCMCIA Card.
PC network n. A low-cost, broadband network that allows attached IBM personal computers to communicate and share resources.
PDF See Portable Document Format.
peer n. In network architecture, any functional unit that is in the same layer as another entity.
pel See picture element.
penalty box n. A temporary position of low esteem usually awarded for a perceived failure or misdeed.
peripheral device n. Any device that can communicate with a particular computer; for example, input/output units, auxiliary storage.
Personal Communications product family n. A group of IBM licensed programs that emulate 3270 and 5250 terminals and that run on several operating systems such as OS/2, DOS, and Windows.
personal computer (PC) 1. n. A microcomputer primarily intended for stand-alone use by an individual. 2. n. A desktop, floor-standing, or portable microcomputer that usually consists of a system unit, a display monitor, a keyboard, one or more diskette drives, internal fixed-disk storage, and an optional printer. PCs are designed primarily for stand-alone operation but may be connected to mainframes or networks.
pervasive computing n. The use of a computing infrastructure that supports information appliances from which users can access a broad range of network-based services, including Internet-based e-commerce services. Pervasive computing thus provides users with the ability to access and take action on information conveniently.
petabit (Pb) 1. n. For processor storage, real and virtual storage, and channel volume, 250 or 1 125 899 906 842 624 bits. 2. n. For disk storage capacity and communications volume, 1 000 000 000 000 000 bits.
petabyte (PB) 1. n. For processor storage, real and virtual storage, and channel volume, 250 or 1 125 899 906 842 624 bytes. 2. n. For disk storage capacity and communications volume, 1 000 000 000 000 000 bytes.
PF4 ("pee-eff-four") v. To erase or destroy (as in: "I got that note and I PF4'd it.").
physical connection 1. n. A connection that establishes an electrical circuit. 2. n. A point-to-point or multipoint connection.
picture element (pel, pixel) 1. n. In computer graphics, the smallest element of a display surface that can be independently assigned color and intensity. 2. n. The area of the finest detail that can be reproduced effectively on the recording medium. 3. n. An element of a raster pattern about which a toned area on a photoconductor can appear.
pipe v. To direct data so that the output from one process becomes the input to another process.
pit n. In optical recording, a microscopic hole in the information layer of a videodisc surface made by the recording laser beam. Recorded information is contained in the pits.
pitch 1. n. A presentation. 2. v. To present or attempt to persuade.
pixel See picture element.
pixel map 1. n. A three-dimensional array of bits. A pixel map can be thought of as a two-dimensional array of pixels, with each pixel being a value from zero to 2 to the power N -1, where N is the depth of the pixel map. 2. n. In the X Window System, a data type to which icons, originally created as bitmaps, are converted.
plaintext See clear data.
platform n. An ambiguous term that may refer to the hardware, the operating system, or a combination of the hardware and the operating system on which software programs run.
Plug and Play adj. Pertaining to the capability of a hardware or software component to be installed on a system with minimal effort and to be available for use immediately thereafter.
plug-in n. A self-contained software component that modifies (adds or changes) function in a particular software system. When a user adds a plug-in to a software system, the foundation of the original software system remains intact. The development of plug-ins requires well-defined application programming interfaces (APIs).
point n. A measurement of the IBM list price of a product, originally equivalent to a monthly rental of one U.S. dollar.
pointer 1. n. A data element that indicates the location of another data element. 2. n. An identifier that indicates the location of an item of data. 3. n. An online indicator that a user can manipulate with a pointing device to identify the target of an action.
pointing device n. An input device with which a user interacts with a computer. A mouse is one example of a pointing device.
point-to-point adj . Pertaining to data transmission between two locations without the use of any intermediate display station or computer.
pop v. To remove an item from the top of a pushdown list.
pop-up menu n. A menu that, when requested, appears next to the object with which it is associated.
pop-up window n. In Common User Access (CUA) architecture, a movable window, fixed in size, in which a user provides information required by an application so that it can continue to process a user request.
port [1] 1. n. A system or network access point for data entry or exit. 2. n. A connector on a device to which cables for other devices such as display stations and printers are attached. 3. n. The representation of a physical connection to the link hardware. A port is sometimes referred to as an adapter; however, there can be more than one port on an adapter. One or more ports are controlled by a single DLC process.
port [2] 4. n. In the Internet suite of protocols, a specific logical connector between the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) or the User Datagram Protocol (UDP) and a higher-level protocol or application. 5. v. To modify a computer program to enable it to run on a different platform.
Portable Document Format (PDF) n. A standard specified by Adobe Systems, Incorporated, for the electronic distribution of documents. PDF files are compact; can be distributed globally via e-mail, the Web, intranets, or CD-ROM; and can be viewed with the Acrobat Reader, which is software from Adobe Systems that can be downloaded at no cost from the Adobe Systems home page.
position v. To explain or provide context (as in: "Let me position that issue for you.").
post 1. n. In the AIX operating system, the action required to make a pop-up or pull-down menu appear. This action is normally a click or a button press on one of the mouse buttons. 2. v. To enter a unit of information on a record. 3. v. To note the occurrence of an event. 4. v. To add information to a record in order to keep the record current.
PostScript n. A standard specified by Adobe Systems, Incorporated, that defines how text and graphics are presented on printers and display devices.
power suit n. The wardrobe worn by players within an organization. (In the mid-1980s, for example, this consisted of a dark blue three-piece pinstriped suit, a long-sleeved white shirt (usually with a button-down collar), a striped "rep" tie, a black belt with an inconspicuous buckle, knee-high black socks and black wing-tip shoes.)
preannounce v. To announce something (usually a product) before it has been formally approved for announcement. In earlier years, this practice was strictly forbidden.
Printing Systems Manager (PSM) n. An IBM licensed program that applies print administration and management technology to a cross-platform, client/server print system. PSM provides a set of (a) printing functions for submitting and controlling print jobs and (b) systems management and operator functions to control print spoolers and print supervisors. PSM is based on the Palladium distributed print system.
private branch exchange (PBX) 1. n. An automatic or manual private telephone exchange for transmission of calls to and from the public telephone network. 2. n. A switching system located on a customer's premises that consolidates the number of inside lines (extensions) into a smaller number of outside lines (trunks). Many PBXs also provide advanced voice and data communication features.
procedure 1. n. In a programming language, a block, with or without formal parameters, whose execution is invoked by means of a procedure call. 2. n. The description of the course of action taken for the solution of a problem.
process 1. v. To perform operations on data in a process. 2. n. In data processing, the course of events that occurs during the execution of all or part of a program. 3. n. A course of the events defined by its purpose or by its effect, achieved under given conditions. 4. n. Any operation or combination of operations on data. 5. n. A function being performed or waiting to be performed.
processing unit See central processing unit.
processor n. In a computer, a functional unit that interprets and executes instructions. A processor consists of at least an instruction control unit and an arithmetic and logic unit.
product number n. Sometimes called a machine number, the four digit number that identifies every major IBM hardware product. The numbers rarely have any relationship to each other but some sort of sequence sometimes may be followed (e.g., 3350, 3370, 3380 are all disk storage devices).
Professional Office System (PROFS) ("profs") n. Professional Office System, a menu-based system providing support -- such as e-mail, calendaring and document storage -- for office personnel using IBM mainframes. See OfficeVision Series.
program 1. n. A sequence of instructions suitable for processing by a computer. Processing may include the use of an assembler, a compiler, an interpreter, or a translator to prepare the program for execution, as well as to execute it. 2. n. In programming languages, a logical assembly of one or more interrelated modules. 3. v. To design, write, and test computer programs.
program manager n. A person who is a manager of a project or product or process but who has no people reporting directly to him or her.
program temporary fix (PTF) n. A temporary solution or bypass of a problem diagnosed by IBM in a current unaltered release of the program.
programmable workstation n. A workstation that has some degree of processing capability and that allows a user to change its functions.
protocol n. The meanings of, and the sequencing rules for, requests and responses used for managing a network, transferring data, and synchronizing the states of network components.
public network n. A network established and operated by a telecommunication administration or by a Recognized Private Operating Agency (RPOA) for the specific purpose of providing circuit-switched, packet-switched, and leased-circuit services to the public.
pull n. A network operation that initiates an action by requesting the action from a resource.
push 1. v. To add an item to the top of a pushdown list. 2. n. A network operation that sends information to resources.
push button n. A button, labeled with text, graphics, or both, that represents an action that will be initiated when a user selects it.
pushback 1. v. To resist, dissent or disagree. Not all pushback is audible or visible, and often occurs below the threshold of formal non-concurrence (see). 2. n. The expression or manifestation of resistance, dissent or disagreement to a proposed plan, process or policy.
pushdown list n. A list constructed and maintained so that the next data element to be retrieved is the most recently stored.
put in place v. Complete (as in: "We've put a new process in place to handle that problem.").
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