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Technical Glossary

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Technical Glossary

Actuator is a device to convert an electrical control signal to a physical action. Actuators may be used for flow-control valves, pumps, positioning drives, motors, switches, relays and meters.

Analog Repeater is telecommunications equipment used to boost and clarify analog signals on telephone lines.

Analog-to-Digital (A/D) Converter - A converter that changes real-world analog signals such as light and sound into digital code.

Application-Specific ICs (ASICs) are chips designed by our customers for specific applications by integrating cells from a TI standard library of pre-tested code. ASIC design is faster than designing a chip from scratch, and design changes can be made more easily.

Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) is a global industry standard for broadband communications that uses high-speed switching capabilities to carry two digital signals of varying bandwidth.

Bandwidth is the difference between the lowest and highest frequency components of a signal or device.

Benchmark is a relative measure of the performance of a digital signal processor in a particular application.

Cable Modem is a modem that uses part of the capacity of the local cable system to transmit data rather than TV channels to the home. It works much like a Local Area Network. Unlike the typical cable system where TV signals can only be broadcast to the home, a cable modem allows information to be transmitted in both directions.

CISC stands for Complete Instruction Set Computer.

Codec is an abbreviation for Coder-Decoder. It's an analog-to-digital (A/D) and digital-to-analog (D/A) converter for translating the signals from the outside world to digital, and back again.

Collect is the act of gathering information in the form of analog or digital input through devices such as scanners, microphones, camcorders, TV cameras, pressure and temperature transducers and keyboards.

To Compress is to convert information from one type to another. By eliminating redundancies, compressed information occupies less space and results in greater performance efficiency. For example, video compression with a 100 to 1 ratio is possible with little noticeable change in image quality.

Compression Technology allows the delivery of more information in less space. This technology enables us to send multiple video channels over standard cable lines and allows CD-quality sound and a full-length feature film to fit on a standard-sized CD.

A Controller is the brain of the system that receives input from the sensors and external devices. It performs mathematical calculations and logical comparisons to decide what must be done. The controller generates the correct output signal to the actuators.

CPU is the abbreviation for Central Processing Unit - the module of the processor that controls and interprets the machine-language program and its execution.

A Die is the formal term for an area of silicon containing an integrated circuit. A die has many layers, each designed for a specific function. The popular term for a die is chip.

Digital Light Processing (DLP) is an all-digital display technology that turns image data into light. Enabled by a DMD device, DLP is capable of projecting sharp, clear images of almost any size without losing any of the original image's resolution.

The Digital Micromirror Device (DMD) is an array of semiconductor-based digital mirrors that precisely reflect a light source for projection display and hard-copy applications. A DMD enables Digital Light Processing and displays images digitally. Rather than displaying digital broadcast signals as analog signals, a DMD directs the digital signal directly to your screen.

A Digital Signal Processor (DSP) is at the heart of products like high-density hard-disk drives, desktop videoconferencing and audio/video compression by rapidly processing large amounts of digital information. This technology, when used in conjunction with mixed-signal devices and embedded software, is referred to as a DSP Solution, and it collects, processes, compresses, transmits and displays analog and digital data.

To Display is to output information in a form that interfaces with our human senses. Display devices include speakers, image projection systems, printers, modems and computer monitors. Digital Light Processing (DLP) technology embedded in a projection system is an example of an advanced all-digital display device.

DSL stands for Digital Subscriber Loop. It shares the same phone line as the telephone service, but it uses a different part of the phone line's bandwidth. It does not interfere with normal phone service because there is a significant amount of unused capacity in current phone wires. This will enable a person to hook up DSL modems that communicate with a local Internet Service Provider (ISP), but they will still be able to talk on the phone - both the modem and the voice telephone can use a single phone line simultaneously. Sometimes the term is shown as xDSL. The "x" represents a variety of possible information rates and methods that can be handled through the Digital Subscriber Loop such as:

ADSL, or Asymmetrical DSL. In ADSL, the data rate from the ISP is greater than the data rate to the ISP. For example, ADSL would deliver 6 million bits per second (6Mb/s) to the home, but only 384 thousand bits per second (384Kb/s) from the home to the ISP.
SDSL stands for Symmetrical DSL, where the data rate is the same in both directions.
HDSL stands for high-speed DSL.

Dynamic Range is the range of input or output that a device can process without overflow or distortion.

Embedded software can be as simple as the microcode instruction set of a microprocessor or as complex as the security software inside a set-top cable modem box. Embedded software performs a specific function not under the control of the primary user and is often used in conjunction with a digital signal processor and mixed-signal devices to form a DSP Solution.

Ethernet is Xerox's standard networking protocol used in local area networks, often connecting dissimilar devices.

A Fixed-Point Processor is used in multiple calculations with a limited dynamic range.

Floating-Point Operations Per Second (FLOPS) is a measurement of performance of capability assigned to a floating-point processor. It is usually noted as MFLOPS or Million FLOPS.

A Floating-Point Processor is used in multiple calculations to obtain high precision with an unlimited dynamic range.

Frequency is the number of cycles per unit of time, denoted by Hertz (Hz). One Hz equals one cycle per second.

Gallium Arsenide (GaAs) is an alloy of gallium and arsenic compound used as the base material for chips. This process technology is several times faster than silicon and enables wireless transmissions that can broadcast and receive hundreds of video channels with stereo audio and data.

Global Positioning Systems (GPS) uses satellite signals to track the location or position of vehicles or vessels on earth.

Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) is the European standard for digital cellular service that includes enhanced features.

HDD is an abbreviation for Hard Disk Drive.

JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) is an industry standard for compressing images. This format provides lossy compression (you lose sharpness from the original) by dividing the image into tiny pixel blocks, which are halved over and over until an adequate compression ratio is achieved.

IEEE 1394 is an international high-performance serial-bus standard which TI has released in a chipset that offers the real-time data transfer of video, audio and peripheral applications through a universal I/O interface. With this technology, digital cameras, CD-ROMs, printers, hard-disk drives and audio/stereo equipment can move data at high speeds to desktops and portable computers through a single cable.

Image Processing is enhancing an image or extracting information or features from an image.

Integrated circuit is the formal name for a die, or chip. Its name resulted from the integration of previously separate transistors, resistors and capacitors, all on a single chip.

Intelligent Network is a switching and signaling concept that centralizes a great deal of intelligence in databases and applications processors in the network instead of in the central switching office devices. This will enable the network to process complex instructions about routing, signaling and information structure quickly and accurately.

A Local Area Network is a group of interconnected devices that share common processing and file management resources, usually within a specific physical area. An example would be an office computer network.

Low-Power Architectures based on TI's Low Voltage Technology (LVT) are enabling technologies such as microprocessors and memory to run faster at lower voltages. These architectures increase power efficiency and enhance battery life in applications like mobile computing and communications.

Memory is your computer's physical work space that stores the instructions, programs and data needed to accomplish the tasks executed by the processor.

A Microprocessor is the brain of today's computer. It operates your computer by carrying out complex functions.

Million Instructions Per Second (MIPS) is a measurement of performance or capacity assigned to a fixed-point processor. It refers to the number of mathematical instructions performed each second.

A Mixed-Signal Device collects analog signals and converts them into digital data to be processed. Once a DSP processes and compresses the digital data, a mixed-signal device decompresses, transmits and displays the digital data as either digital or analog signals.

MPEG (Motion Picture Experts Group) is an industry standard for compressing video and audio. MPEG I, used in video CDs, provides a standard image of 352x240 dots per inch, 30 frames per second, 15-bit color and CD-quality sound. MPEG II is an emerging standard for full broadcast-quality video.

Parallel Processing is an efficient form of information processing that emphasizes the exploitation of concurrent events in the computing process. Concurrency implies parallelism, simultaneity and pipelining. Parallel events may occur in multiple resources during the same time instant; pipelined events are attainable in a computer system at various processing levels. Parallel processing demands concurrent execution of many programs in the computer as a cost-effective means to improve system performance.

Process Technology is the semiconductor manufacturing flow which creates or fabricates an integrated circuit. CMOS process technology (Complementary Metal Oxide on Silicon) enables low power, high-density chips.

The core of TIRIS is a Radio Frequency Transponder, or tag, which can be attached to or embedded in an object. In a transponder system, a reader sends a signal to a tag via an antenna, charging the transponder and allowing it to return a signal carrying the data stored within it. The data collected from the transponder can be sent directly to a host computer or stored and later uploaded.

A Reduced Instruction Set Computer (RISC) is a computer architecture that has reduced chip complexity by using simpler processing instructions. It is faster than its more complex counterparts, thanks to its simplicity, and is also designed and built more economically.

Resolution is a measure of accuracy or dynamic range of an A/D or D/A converter.

Sampling is the process of converting continuous signals into discrete values.

Sampling Rate is the rate at which an analog signal is sampled for conversion to and from the digital domain. The sampling rate is measured as the number of samples per unit of time.

A Semiconductor is a solid-state substance with conductive properties that can be altered with electricity. Silicon performs as a semiconductor when chemically combined with other elements. A semiconductor is also halfway between a conductor and an insulator. When charged with electricity or light, semiconductors change their state from nonconductive to conductive or vice versa. The most significant product built from a semiconductor is the transistor.

Synchronous DRAM (SDRAM) times all address, data and control signals to a CPU's system clock. This function eliminates the bandwidth bottleneck between your memory and CPU to maximize overall system performance.

TI Registration and Identification System (TIRIS) uses radio frequency identification to electronically control, detect and track objects by manipulating radio signals. Applications include traffic management, logistics systems, antitheft devices and security systems.

To Transmit is to deliver information between two or more locations. Transmitted information occurs through media such as Local Area Networks/Wide Area Networks and cable, coax, fiber optics and twisted pair wires, in addition to satellites and radio or optical wireless devices.

Voice Recognition is the conversion of spoken words into computer text. Speech is first digitized and then matched against a dictionary of coded waveforms. The matches are then converted into text as if the words were typed on the keyboard.

A Wafer Fab, also known as a semiconductor fabrication plant, is where all of a semiconductor's electronic components are interconnected onto a single die of silicon. It must be 1,000 times cleaner than the cleanest hospital operating room because a single microscopic dust particle can render an entire die circuit useless.

A Wide Area Network (WAN) is a group of computer networks connected together over long distances. The Internet is a WAN.

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