IEEE Computer Society Style Guide

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P

 

 

P2P: peer-to-peer

 

P3P: Platform for Privacy Preferences; a W3C standard

 

p: not italicized when used to indicate probability

 

p: SI prefix for one trillionth or pico (3 ps)

 

p.: abbreviation for page when referred to in text; use pp. for multiple pages

 

PABX: private automated branch exchange, a telephone system

 

packet: a packed block of data for data transmission

 

PAD: packet assembler/disassembler

 

PADL: Part and Assembly Description Language, developed at the University of Rochester

 

pairwise

 

PAL: phase alternating line—a European video standard; also the acronym for Paradox Application Language

 

Palm Pilot

 

PAN: personal area network

 

PAR: project authorization request

 

parameterization: not parametrization; to split at the end of a line, note that parameter and like words are split after the m, for example: param-eter; but parametric is split before the m: para-metric; automatic hyphenation programs tend to split parameter incorrectly

 

PARC: Palo Alto Research Center

 

ParcTab: the first context-sensitive computer, developed at Xerox PARC. Note the capitalization.

 

parseable (alternate spelling: parsable)

 

PASC: Portable Applications Standards Committee

 

Pascal: a programming language (named for mathematician Blaise Pascal)

 

parent: one of several family words used to describe relationships among nodes in databases. The terms are legitimate; don't try to edit them out.

 

pass/fail

 

pathname

 

Pbps: petabits per second

 

p-channel (adj)

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PC: personal computer; see also, IBM PC

 

PC-DOS: IBM's version of MS-DOS; use only when discussing applications that will run on PC-DOS but not on MS-DOS (these are largely IBM programs and there are very few of them)

 

PCB: printed circuit board; plural form is PCBs

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PCI: peripheral component interconnect

 

PCM: pulse-code modulation

 

PCMCIA: Personal Computer Memory Card International Assoc.

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PDA: personal digital assistant

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PDF: portable document format

 

PDL: page-description language

 

PDP-11, PDP-11/03, PDP-11/70: Digital Equipment Corporation computers

 

Pentium 4

 

Pentium 5 (V): Pentium

 

Pentium 6 (VI): Pentium II

 

percent: spell it out; don't use %; don't use without a number as a replacement for "percentage"

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Perl: Practical Extraction and Report Language

 

pervasive computing: when used as an adjective, no hyphen in Pervasive Computing but hyphenated in other magazines.

 

PET: positron emission tomography

 

peta: a thousand trillion (petaflops = a thousand teraflops)

 

petabit

 

Petri net (n): a graphical model of information flow, showing static and dynamic properties of a system; named after Karl Petri, a German mathematician

 

pF: picofarad; a unit of capacitance equal to one-trillionth of a farad

 

PhD: no periods

 

PHIGS: Programmer's Hierarchical Interactive Graphics System, an ANSI and ISO  standard

 

photo-: no hyphen when used as a modifier (photomultiplier)

 

photomicrograph: magnified picture of small things; do not confuse with microphotograph

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PHP: recursive acronym for Hypertext Preprocessor, a scripting language

 

pico- (prefix): one trillionth, no hyphen (picogram, picosecond)

 

Pict: an image-file format (generally produced by Apple Macintosh programs); not the same as a .PIC graphics file, which is produced primarily by MS-DOS spreadsheet programs

 

PID: proportional, integral, derivative

 

PIM: peripheral interface module; Protocol-Independent Multicast (SM = Sparse Mode; SSM = Single-Source Multicast)

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PIN: personal identification number. Don't use PIN number.

 

pinout

 

Pisces: parallel implementation of scientific computing environments

 

Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center: one of the four US national supercomputer centers funded by the National Science Foundation

 

pixel (n): derived from pix (short for "picture") and element, it is the smallest resolvable dot in an image display

 

PKI: public-key infrastructure

 

PL/I: a programming language developed by IBM (roman "I" per textbook by developer)

 

PLA: programmable logic array

 

plaintext: the intelligible form of an encrypted text, for example, plaintext contains routing information; use plain text when referring to unencrypted text, for example, user entries are in italics, the computer's response is in plain text

 

PlayStation

 

plug-in (n, adj)

 

plurals: The general rule is to add an "s": 1980s (year), 40s (temperature), HP-1000s (name), Apple IIs (name); see CMS 7.14 and 9.54

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p.m.: post meridiem, meaning "after noon" (also includes 12:00 noon); see also a.m.

 

PMU: processor management unit

 

PMOS: p-channel MOS

 

PNG: portable network graphics

 

PnP: plug and play

 

PO: post office; in addresses, use no periods (PO Box 33)

 

PocketPC: brand name; pocket PC: generic term

 

podcast

 

policymaker

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POP3: Post Office Protocol, version 3

 

popup

 

Posix: IEEE standard for a portable operating systems interface. The initial standard deals with portability standards for C programs on computers running Unix.

 

post-: no hyphen unless root is based on a proper noun (postprocessing, post-Victorian)

 

postmortem

 

PostScript: a graphics- and font-description language from Adobe Systems, used primarily in desktop publishing

 

POTS: plain old telephone system

 

power down (v)

 

PowerPC

 

pp.: abbreviation for multiple pages; single-page references are denoted by p.

 

PPP: Point-to-Point Protocol

 

pre-: no hyphen unless root is based on a proper noun (preeminent, pre-Columbian)

 

prefixes: see CMS 7.85, Table 4

 

Prentice Hall

 

prepositions in titles: see the Capitalization section

 

president: capitalize only when referring to the President of a country

 

prettyprinting: the process of reformatting source code so that it has a consistent layout

 

price/performance ratio: written with a slash ("/"), not a hyphen

 

printed circuit board: board on which most components are connected by printed circuitry; PCB, PCBs are acceptable on second reference

 

printout

 

Prism: parallel reduced-instruction-set multiprocessing (Apollo architecture)

 

programs and tokens: see Program Code section

 

Prolog: a logic programming language

 

PROM: programmable read-only memory

 

pronouns: he, she—try to use a gender-neutral alternative, for example, plural, "he or she," or "the user"

 

ps: picosecond

 

PS/2: Personal System/2, an IBM PC family based on Intel 80286/80386 processors; unlike the IBM PC AT, it has a proprietary Micro Channel bus; it can run OS/2 or MS-DOS

 

PSB: parallel system bus

 

pseudo- (prefix): no hyphen when used to form a compound (pseudorandom); word processors might hyphenate after pseu, but be careful to hyphenate after pseudo

 

PSN: packet-switch node

 

PSP:

 

PSTN: public switched telephone network

 

p test

 

pulsewidth: not the same as pulse duration

 

PUMA: programmable universal mechanical assembly

 

p value

 

PWB: printed wiring board

Q

 

 

Q-bus: from Digital Equipment Corp.

 

QCD: quantum chromodynamics

 

QED: quantum electrodynamics; also quod erat demonstrandum, "which was to be demonstrated," commonly used at the end of mathematical proofs. However, in Computer Society Transactions, this is usually replaced with a small box, known as the "tombstone" or "halmos symbol."

 

QoS: (n) quality of service; (adj) quality-of-service

*

QR code (n) quick response code

 

quadword: 48-bit or 32-bit piece of data

 

quasi, quasi-: hyphenated for adjectives (quasi-parenthetical), open for nouns, except for some established closed compounds (quasi system, quasiparticle)

 

Quel: a relational calculus language

 

quicksort routine: memory sorting

 

QuickTime: the Macintosh movie/animation application

 

quotation marks: Use around direct quotations, chapter titles, episode titles, words when referred to as words, and letters when referred to as letters. In an article that begins with a quotation, do not use the opening quotation marks with the initial drop cap (an oversized, boldface capital at the beginning of a paragraph), but close the quotation with quotation marks. Block quotations do not take quotation marks. For more information, see CMS 13.20-13.22 and 13.37-13.41.

 

QVGA: quarter VGA

 

qwerty: the standard typewriter or computer keyboard, with the letters q, w, e, r, t, and y at the upper left; no initial capital


R

 

 

R8000: a 64-bit RISC microprocessor introduced in 1994 by MIPS Technologies Inc. It was formerly code-named TFP. Other processors made by MIPS include the R4400 and R4600.

 

rackmount (adj): computer equipment that is standardized to 19 inches in width

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RAID: redundant array of independent disks (originally "inexpensive" disks)

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RAM: random-access memory

 

RAND Corp.: official format for the name of the nonprofit research corporation. In Security & Privacy, use Rand Corporation is affiliations and bios.

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R&D: research and development

 

raster (n): the scan lines that form the graphic output on a computer display; also referred to as bitmap

 

raster-op: raster operation

 

ray tracer (n): an algorithm for drawing computer-generated shaded or highlighted images (also, a ray-tracing algorithm)

 

RC: resistance-capacitance

 

RCS: radar cross-section

 

RDBMS (plural—RDBMSs): relational database management system

 

RDF: Resource Description Framework

 

RDFS: RDF Schema

 

re-: no hyphenation in most cases; see Webster's for individual examples; watch context for words such as resign (to quit a job) or re-sign (to sign again)

 

readback: a way to ensure the accuracy of output by comparing the transmitted data with the original data

 

readout (n): a visual display of data stored electronically; read out (v)

 

read/write

 

RealNetworks

 

real time (n), real-time (adj): the actual time during which something takes place

 

reengineer: to examine and alter a subject system to reconstitute it into a new form and to subsequently implement the new form; contrast with reverse engineering

 

registered trademark (â): see trademark

 

register-transfer (adj): as in register-transfer level

 

relational database: a database with data organized into tables

 

REST: Representational State Transfer, an XML protocol

 

reverse engineering (n), reverse-engineering (adj), reverse-engineer (v): to deduce the plans of something already built as opposed to reengineering an entity

 

Rexx: IBM's Restructured Extended Executor

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RF: radio frequency

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RFC: request for comments

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RFID: radio frequency identification

 

RFP: request for proposal; spell out on first use

 

RGB: red, green, blue; an additive color model used in TV and raster displays

 

RISC: reduced-instruction-set computing or computer

 

RMI: remote method invocation; see Java RMI

 

road map

 

ROI: return on investment

 

rollout (n), roll out (v)

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ROM: read-only memory (nonerasable)

 

roman: a type style that is not italic or boldface; no initial capital when referring to the type style

 

round-off error

 

royalty-free images

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RPC: Remote Procedure Call; a protocol

 

RPF: reverse path forwarding

 

rpm: revolutions per minute

 

RS-232, RS-232C: hardware interface protocols

 

RS/6000: RISC System/6000, a workstation from IBM; comes in a variety of models, such as the IBM RS/6000 Model 350

 

RSCS: Remote Spooling and Communications Subsystem, the spooling protocol used in Vnet and Bitnet

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RSS: Really Simple Syndication; Rich Site Summary ; RDF Site Summary—a  method of describing Web content that is available for distribution or syndication from an online publisher to Web users

 

RSVP: Resource Reservation Protocol

 

RT: register transfer

 

RT-11: operating system for Digital Equipment Corp. PDP-11 computers

 

RTCP: Real-Time Control Protocol

 

RTL: register transfer level; also Register Transfer Language

 

RTP: Real-Time Transfer Protocol

 

RTSP: Real-Time Streaming Protocol

 

RTTP: Real-Time Transport Protocol; also seen as RTP

 

rubberbanding: a computer graphics technique that lets lines in an image be stretched and moved as if elastic

 

rule set

 

runtime (n) (adj): the measure of the time expended to execute a program