This article explores computer terms that start with the letter “N”. It provides information on some of these terms, as well as additional resources for learning more. The goal is to help you find your way around the wide world of computers and technology.
Computer Terms that Start with the Letter N
NAND – A type of flash memory or computer chip. It is a variation on the NOR logic gate, but it uses only two input lines per gate instead of three. This reduces cost and power consumption at the expense of some performance. A “NAND” gate outputs a 1 if both inputs are 0, but not for any other combination. This means that up to four individual NAND gates can be combined into one single integrated circuit (IC). The term “NAND” is often used to refer to an array of these circuits in order to differentiate between them from more general types of logic gates which use more than two inputs per output line. A typical IC may contain hundreds or thousands of NAND gates.
NIC – Network interface controller. It is a piece of hardware that allows your computer to “talk” with other devices on the network, such as another computer or a printer. For example, when you send documents from your computer over a network or to a printer connected to the network, it’s done with this device. A NIC typically has standard ports for Ethernet cables and RJ-45 connectors. Most new computers come with at least one built-in Ethernet port, which is how they connect to the local area network (LAN). However, an increasing number of PCs also have wireless cards that allow users to connect without wires — in effect allowing them to turn their PCs into Wi-Fi hotspots that anyone can join.
NOP – No-operation instruction. It is a command given by programmers to tell the CPU not to perform any action, so it idles until further notice. NOPs are also known as no-ops or NOOPS and abbreviated as NOPx where x is the number of bytes that will be ignored (e.g., 1 for one byte, 5 for five bytes). A common use of this term in older computer software development was to mark placeholder locations in code or data where a statement should be inserted later on; often such placeholders would only be replaced with real instructions as part of larger maintenance work performed many months after an initial program release. By inserting NOPs at these points, programmers could ensure that their software would still work correctly even if the new instructions were never added.
NOR – NOR gate is one of the basic logic gates, which can be used to implement logical functions such as AND and OR. Wherever a 0 (logic value for “false”) appears on either or both inputs of a NOR gate, it produces a 1 (“true”) output; all other combinations produce a 0 output. It is called an inverting logic gate because its output is inverted: when both inputs are 0, its output will be 1; and when either input is 1, the output will be 0.
NTFS – New Technology File System (NTFS) was created by Microsoft for Windows NT operating system, and it is the default file system for Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003. NTFS was also used as the default file system in all versions of Windows from Windows Vista onward. It supports very large individual files (up to 16 terabytes), full Unicode filename support, a much larger number of access permissions, much more elaborate change notifications and journaling, disk quotas, concurrent access from multiple users sharing the same storage device through joint use of a volume/device set or cluster/distributed file system or distributed share management.
NULL – A null character is a control character with a value of zero. In the C programming language, null characters are represented by “\0”. The NULL pointer refers to a memory address that does not point to any object or function. This is a special value that can be assigned to variables that are pointers, but it must not be dereferenced like other pointers (i.e., the * operation should not be applied).
NWP – Non-working pages. A type of memory management technique used in virtual memory operating systems. After paging out some part of the contents of the main memory to disk storage, the page frame formerly occupied by this data now contains different information than was previously stored there; hence, it is called a “non-working” page frame because no valid data currently resides within it. Operating systems using non-working page frames typically place them into an internal list suitable for reusing them later if another page becomes non-working and needs to be paged out.