IEEE Computer Society Style Guide

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s: SI abbreviation for second (for example when part of a compound 30 s, 30 ns); see sec.


S.: "south" in addresses


SaaS: software as a service


SAE: Society of Automotive Engineers


safety: in some computing contexts, a technical term meaning the quality of making sure that nothing bad happens. Safety, for example, ensures that a calculation is performed, but not that the results of the calculation are actually returned to a user or program module. Do not use this term without an explanation; compare with liveness.


SAML: Security Assertion Markup Language; an OASIS standard


SAN: storage area network; system area network


SATAN: Security Administrator Tool for Analyzing Networks; do not lowercase the acronym


SAX: Simple API for XML


scalable: Microsoft Word's spell-check dictionary suggests scaleable, but we spell it without the internal e.


ScaLapack: a benchmarking package; see also Lapack


scan-in; scan-out (n)


scan line (n): one of the lines that make up a graphics display




Scene: Scientific Computation Environment for Numerical Experimentation, a scientific visualization environment developed at Rutgers


schema: term used in artificial intelligence and in modeling to represent an approach, scheme, or relation precisely and usually diagrammatically. Ensure that the generic scheme is inappropriate before using schema. Plural is schemas, not the Greek schemata.


Scheme: an artificial intelligence language


Schrödinger equation: spell with umlaut, not oe


SCI: scalable coherent interface


SCO Group: formerly the Santa Cruz Operation (company)


scratchpad: a fast auxiliary computer memory, usually used for temporary data storage


screen dump (n), screenshot (n), screensaver (n)


scroll bar (n)


Scrum: a framework for software development


SCSI: Small Computer System Interface; pronounced "skuzzy" and takes a as its article


SDI: serial digital interface


SDK: software developer's kit


SDRAM: synchronous DRAM (dynamic random access memory)


SE: "southeast" in addresses


SEBoK Guide: Preferred abbreviated form when referring to the Systems Engineering Body of Knowledge


sec.: nontechnical abbreviation for second. Use s unless confusion could result.


second sourcing (n): in manufacturing, the practice of using an alternate company to produce something that the original manufacturer designed and produces itself—for example, when the original manufacturer cannot make enough to meet demand


SEI: Software Engineering Institute, a US Defense Dept. research arm (managed by the US Navy) based at Carnegie Mellon University. In Software, SEI doesn't need CMU with it.


Semantic Web: an extension of the current Web using standards such as RDF along with ontologies and other mechanisms to define meaning for abstract data to facilitate machine-machine communication


semi-: prefix; do not hyphenate


September 11, 2001 (9/11)


Serial ATA


Series 1000: but the 1000 series


servocontroller: servo by itself is not sufficient


servomechanism: an automatic feedback system that monitors an operation and makes necessary adjustments; servo is not sufficient


set-top box: an interactive television device that sits on top of the television


setup (n), set up (v)


SGI: formerly Silicon Graphics Inc.


SGML: Standard Generalized Markup Language


SGMP: Simple Gateway-Monitoring Protocol


shar: shell archive; a file combination protocol




SI: acronym for the French version of International System of Units, a scientific method of expressing the magnitude or quantity of seven specific natural phenomena


SIA: Semiconductor Industry Association


SIAM: Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics


SID: Society for Information Display


SIG: special-interest group; see ACM


Siggraph; Sigmod


Sigma: a project to develop a software development workstation environment, staffed by a consortium of companies working under the direction of Japan's Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) through the Information-Processing Technology Agency (IPA)


signs: see the Numbers and Symbols section


SIIA: Software Information Industry Assoc.


Sim: benchmark


SIMD: single instruction, multiple data—the simplest form of parallel architecture; pronounced "sim-dee" and takes a as its article. Spell out on first use if necessary for contextual clarity. Use hyphens when written out and used as a modifier/adjective.


SIMM: single, in-line memory module


Simox: separation by implanted oxygen




single-stuck-at fault model: see stuck-at


SIP: Session Initiation Protocol


SITA: Société Internationale de Télécommunications Aéronautiques


sizeable: Webster's also uses sizable


SkinnyDIP: trademark name for thin-packaged DIP chips (DIP stands for dual in-line package)


Slim: Software Life-Cycle Management, a project-estimation system developed by Lawrence Putnam


SLOC: source lines of code. Don't spell this out in Software.


SLP: Service Location Protocol


small-scale (adj)


smart card (n)


smart home (n), smart-home (adj)


smartphone (n)


SMD: surface-mount device


SME: Society of Manufacturing Engineers


SMIL: Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language; use a before acronym—pronounced "smile"


S/MIME: secure MIME


SMS: short message service


SMT: surface-mount technology


SMTP: Simple Mail-Transfer Protocol


SNAP: scalable networks and platforms; phrase coined by Gordon Bell and Jim Gray at University of California, Berkeley


SNMP: Simple Network-Management Protocol


SNR: signal-to-noise ratio


SOA: service-oriented architecture; pronounced "soh-uh," as in a SOA


SOAP: a Web services messaging protocol; originally the acronym for Simple Object Access Protocol, the term is no longer defined in common use


SOC: service-oriented computing; service-oriented collaboration


SoC: system-on-chip (adj); system on chip (n); systems on chip (n pl); abbreviated plural noun form is SoCs.


social network


soft copy (n), soft-copy (adj)


software engineering (n, adj)


software-hardware development (n)




soho: small office/home office


SOJ: small-outline, J-lead


solid modeling (n), solid-modeling (adj): okay to omit hyphen in graphics or visualization publications


son: one of several family words used to describe relationships among nodes in databases; the term is legitimate—don't edit it out


Sonet: Synchronous Optical Network; a Bellcore standard


Sony PlayStation


source code: no hyphen for n or adj


SPA: Software Publishers Association, now part of SIIA (see entry above); also scratchpad area (from IEEE)


spam: junk email


Sparc: Sun Microsystems' scalable processor architecture; a RISC-based CPU used primarily in engineering workstations


Sparcstation: examples are Sparcstation IPX and Sparcstation 2


SPC: Software Productivity Consortium, a research group


SPEC: Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation (formerly System Performance Evaluation Cooperative); a vendor-sponsored source of the SPEC benchmarks; examples are the SPECint92 and SPECfp92


speedup (n)


Spice: simulation program with integrated circuit emphasis


SPIE: Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers; the organization now styles itself "the international society for optical engineering"


spreadsheet (n)


Springer: book publisher; use in all references


SQL: Structured Query Language


squash-and-stretch (n): function that enlarges and reduces, not necessarily in proportion to all dimensions; also called rubberbanding


SRAM: static RAM


SRI: Stanford Research Institute


SSH: Secure Shell or Secure Socket Shell; a security protocol


SSI: small-scale integration, typically from one to four circuits


SSL: Secure Sockets Layer; a security protocol


stand-alone (adj)




Stars: Software Technology for Adaptable, Reliable Systems; a US Defense Dept. project


Star Tap




start-up (n. adj)


statechart: not state chart or state-chart


state of the art (n), state-of-the-art (adj): represents the highest level of available technology (as compared with "state of the practice," which is the highest level in general use). It is an overworked phrase; consider substituting "current technology.


state-transition (adj)


stereo pair (n): two pictures that produce a 3D image


stuck-at (adj), stuck-at fault (n): a type of circuit defect in which a gate can be stuck at either 1 or 0: stuck-at-1 fault, stuck-at-0 fault; can also be abbreviated as SA1 and SA0


stuck-open fault (n): not synonymous with stuck-at fault


stylesheet (n, adj)


Styrofoam: use foam or plastic foam when referring to generic consumer or packaging products; capitalize when used as a trademark


subsystem (n)


Sun OS: Sun Microsystems' version of the Unix operating system


SunSoft: division of Sun Microsystems that provides system software


Sun workstation: initial capital on "Sun"; from Sun Microsystems


Sunmos: Sandia/University of New Mexico operating system; an OS for the Intel Paragon parallel supercomputer


super-: no hyphen when used to form a compound word (supercomputer)


supercomputer (n): no fixed processing speed definition; changes with advances in technology


supermini: short for superminicomputer, which is the preferred usage


surface: Do not use as a transitive verb in the sense of "bringing to the top." A whale surfaces, but a speaker does not surface an idea. If you must give buoyancy to ideas, float them. However, surface can be used as a transitive verb in the sense of "refining or smoothing a physical surface," as in surfacing lumber.


surface-mount device, surface-mount technology: board manufacturing method in which chips are "glued" to boards


SW: "southwest" in addresses


SWEBOK Guide: Preferred abbreviated format to use when referring to the Guide to the Software Engineering Body of Knowledge.


SWIG: simplified wrapper and interface generator






2D: two-dimensional, no hyphen


3D: three-dimensional, no hyphen


3DES: (say: "triple DES")


T1: digital transmission at 1.544 Mbits per second; T3 is a faster line


tape out


tar: tape archive; file combination protocol


task ID: use the one-word form, taskid, only in program statements


task type: use the one-word form, tasktype, only in program statements


Tbyte: terabyte; one billion bytes


TC: technical committee; spell out on first use


Tcl/Tk: a computer language developed by John Ousterhout of UC Berkeley; can also be separate—Tcl and Tk


TCP: Transmission Control Protocol


TCPA: Microsoft's Trusted Computing Platform Architecture, formerly known as Palladium


TCP/IP: Don't spell this out in the optional magazines.


TDM: time-division multiplexing


TDMA: time division multiple access


telephone numbers: see the Numbers and Symbols section; also CMS 6.77


teletext: a noninteractive (broadcast) text/graphics communications system


Teletype: use only when describing Teletype Corp. equipment; generic word is teletypewriter


teletypewriter: see above; abbreviated TTY


television: okay to abbreviate as TV


telex: acronym for teletype exchange, a service that permits the transmission of data using commercial telecommunication facilities comprised of a network of teletypewriters


Tell-A-Graf: graphics software by Computer Associates International


Telenet (n): Terminal Emulation Protocol; US Sprint's switching network originally developed for Arpanet


testbed (n): an environment containing all the components necessary for testing a system


tests (statistical): F-test; t-test, chi-square test; P value; Wilcoxon rank sum test


TeX: see LaTeX; pronounced "tech"


Tflops: teraflops; one billion flops


TFT: thin-film transistor


the: When referring to an academic institution's name that starts with the (such as the University of Texas), lowercase "the" or delete it. Always delete "the" in a byline. This rule stands regardless of the format on university stationery, seals, and so forth. When referring to a corporate entity whose name begins with "the" (such as the Irvine Company), lowercase or delete "the."


ThinDIP: trademark name for thin-packaged DIP chips; "DIP" stands for dual in-line package


Thomas J. Watson Research Center, T.J. Watson Research Center: an IBM facility; refer to as IBM T.J. Watson Research Center on first use


Thomas J. Watson: when referring to the persons, distinguish between Jr. and Sr.


three-space, three-dimensional space: a mathematical term; also 3-space; can be written as S3 or R3




tif: an electronic file format


TIFF: tagged image-file format; graphics-file format; even though the filename extension is .tif, the acronym is TIFF


tiling: a nonoverlapping approach to window management




time frame


time line: description of events during a particular historical period; timeline: a schedule of events or procedures


time-multiplexed (adj)


time-out (n), time out (v)


time-shared (adj)


time-sharing (n): simultaneous use of a central computer by many users at remote locations


time sheet (n)


time stamp (n)


time step (n), time-step (adj)


time to market


TI OMAP: Texas Instruments Open Multimedia Applications Platform


TIP: terminal interface processor


TLB: translation look-aside buffer


TLS: Transport Layer Security


TMS32010, TMS34010: no space between letters and numbers; processors from Texas Instruments


toolbox (n), toolkit (n), toolset (n): one word when used in computer contexts


TOP: Technical Office Protocol; see MAP/TOP


top-down design


touch pad (n): a touch-sensitive user interface


touchscreen (n): a touch-sensitive user interface


TP0-TP4: Transport Protocol Class 0 to 4; a set of transmission protocols in the ISO protocol suite


traceable; traceback; traceroute


trackball (n)


trademark: The registered trademark (â) symbol indicates that the trademark is registered in the US Patent and Trademark Office; (Ô) indicates that it is pending. Avoid using trademark symbols in text. However, oblige an author who owns a trademark and insists upon its use. In this case, use the company's name before the product on first reference to establish ownership, for example, Sun's Sbus; thereafter, use the product name by itself.


tradeoff (n); trade off (v)


transition: Do not use as a verb.


transputer (n) (transister computer): a microprocessor with local memory and communication links. It's both an Inmos product and a generic term.


troff: text run-off; pronounce "tee-roff"; a Unix text-format front-end (coding) and output (printing) processor; variations include nroff and ditroff (device-independent troff)


Trojan horse


TRON: The Real-Time Operating-System Nucleus, a Japanese computer project to develop hardware and software technology to run household systems that are independent but communicate with each other for smart homes and the like; modules include MTRON, BTRON, ITRON, CTRON, and ITRON


TSR: terminate-and-stay-resident


TTL: transistor-transistor logic


TTS (adj): text-to-speech


t-test: a statistical test that deals with the problems associated with inference based on small samples


-tuple: suffix for a set <<of so many>> elements




turnkey (adj): describes a system delivered ready to run without adding any hardware or software; synonym for off the shelf


TV: abbreviation for television


TWAIN: technology without an interesting name—programming interface that lets a graphics application activate a scanner or other image-capturing device




UBE: unsolicited bulk e-mail


ubicomp: abbreviation for ubiquitous computing


ubiquitous computing: when it's an adjective, no hyphen in Pervasive Computing but hyphenated in other magazines


UCE: unsolicited commercial e-mail


UCS: universal character set


UDDI: universal description, discovery, and integration


UDP: User Datagram Protocol


UI: unit interval; a measure of time


UIMS: user-interface management system; UIMSs (plural)


UIP: user-interface presentation


UIST: user-interface software and technology


UK: United Kingdom (no periods), comprising England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales; not synonymous with Britain. Do not use UK if the country name is sufficient.


ULSI: ultralarge-scale integration; can be used as a stand-alone noun when referring to the concept but not to physical objects, for example: ULSI circuit, ULSI chip


Ultracomputer: IBM and New York University's supercomputer




ultrawideband (adj.): See also UWB.


UML: Unified Modeling Language. Don't spell this out in Software.


UMTS: Universal Mobile Telecommunications System


UN: United Nations (no periods)


underway (adv.), under way (adj.)


uni-: not hyphenated as a prefix (uniprocessor)






Univac: Universal Automatic Computer


University X at Y, or University X, Y, or University X-Y: Follow the specific institution's usage. Although some universities capitalize the and consider it part of the university's name, Computer Society style either deletes or lowercases the word. Thus, it is the Ohio State University (not The Ohio State University) and the University of Kansas (not The University of Kansas). See also the. It's University of California at Santa Barbara, but all other UC campuses use this format: University of California, Berkeley.


Unix: a multilanguage operating system developed at AT&T Bell Laboratories; various versions are in existence




UPnP: universal plug and play




URI: uniform resource identifier


URL: uniform resource locator


URN: uniform resource name


US (n, adj): United States; no periods


USB: Universal Serial Bus


Usenix: now the Advanced Computing Systems Association


user-friendly (adj): frequently overused; avoid unless appropriate to the context




USRA: Universities Space Research Association


UTF-8: Unicode Transformation Format-8


UUCPnet: Unix-to-Unix copy network


UWB: ultrawideband, a wireless communication technology