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Encyclopedia > Character (computing)

In computer and machine-based telecommunications terminology, a character is a unit of information that roughly corresponds to a grapheme or a grapheme-like unit or symbol, such as in an alphabet or syllabary in the written form of a natural language. A BlueGene supercomputer cabinet. ... Copy of the original phone of Alexander Graham Bell at the Musée des Arts et Métiers in Paris Telecommunication is the transmission of signals over a distance for the purpose of communication. ... The ASCII codes for the word Wikipedia represented in binary, the numeral system most commonly used for encoding computer information. ... In typography, a grapheme is the atomic unit in written language. ... A Specimen of typeset fonts and languages, by William Caslon, letter founder; from the 1728 Cyclopaedia. ... A syllabary is a set of written symbols that represent (or approximate) syllables, which make up words. ... A written language is a language that uses a writing system to convey meaning, or more generally the written form of any language that has such written components. ... The term natural language is used to distinguish languages spoken and signed (by hand signals and facial expressions) by humans for general-purpose communication from constructs such as writing, computer-programming languages or the languages used in the study of formal logic, especially mathematical logic. ...


An example of a character is a letter, numeral, or punctuation mark. The concept also includes control characters, which do not correspond to natural language symbols but to other bits of information used to process texts of the language, such as control characters like carriage return or tab, as well as instructions to printers or other devices that display such texts. A numeral is a symbol or group of symbols, or a word in a natural language that represents a number. ... The term punctuation has two different linguistic meanings: in general, the act and the effect of punctuating, i. ... In computing, a control character or non-printing character, is a code point (a number) in a character set that does not in itself represent a written symbol. ... Originally, carriage return was the term for the key, lever, or mechanism on a typewriter that would cause the cylinder on which the paper was held (the carriage) to return to the left side of the paper after a line of text had been typed, and would often move it... This article is about the use of the term Tab in computing. ... This does not cite its references or sources. ...

Contents

Character encoding

Main article: character encoding

Computers and communication equipment represent characters using a character encoding that assigns each character to something — an integer quantity represented by a sequence of bits, typically — that can be stored or transmitted through a network. The most common encoding is ASCII, though the more versatile Unicode is quickly becoming popular. While most character encodings map characters to numbers and/or bit sequences, Morse code instead represents characters using a series of electrical impulses of varying length. A character encoding or character set (sometimes referred to as code page) consists of a code that pairs a sequence of characters from a given set with something else, such as a sequence of natural numbers, octets or electrical pulses, in order to facilitate the storage of text in computers... A character encoding or character set (sometimes referred to as code page) consists of a code that pairs a sequence of characters from a given set with something else, such as a sequence of natural numbers, octets or electrical pulses, in order to facilitate the storage of text in computers... The integers are commonly denoted by the above symbol. ... This article is about the unit of information. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... There are 95 printable ASCII characters, numbered 32 to 126. ... Unicode is an industry standard designed to allow text and symbols from all of the writing systems of the world to be consistently represented and manipulated by computers. ... 1922 Chart of the Morse Code Letters and Numerals Morse code is a method for transmitting information by using standardized sequences of variously spaced short and long elements for the characters and words in a message. ...


Terminology

Historically, the term character has been widely used by industry professionals to refer to an encoded character (often only as exposed via a programming language's API). Likewise, character set has been widely used to refer to a specific repertoire of abstract characters that have been mapped to specific bit sequences. With the advent of Unicode and bit-agnostic encoding forms, more precise terminology is increasingly favored. A programming language is an artificial language that can be used to control the behavior of a machine, particularly a computer. ... A application programming interface (API) is the interface that a computer system, library or application provides in order to allow requests for services to be made of it by other computer programs, and/or to allow data to be exchanged between them. ...


It is important, in some contexts, to make the distinction that a character is a unit of information, and thus does not imply any particular visual manifestation. For example, the Hebrew letter Aleph ("א") is often used by mathematicians to denote certain kinds of infinity, but it is also used in ordinary Hebrew text. In Unicode, these two uses are different characters and are signified by two different codes, though they may be rendered identically. Conversely, the Chinese logogram for water ("水") may have a slightly different appearance in Japanese texts than it does in Chinese texts, and local typefaces may reflect this. But they nonetheless represent the same information, are considered the same character, and share the same Unicode code point. is the reconstructed name of the first letter of the Proto-Canaanite alphabet, continued in descended Semitic alphabets as Phoenician , Syriac , Hebrew , , and Arabic . Aleph originally expressed the glottal stop (IPA ), usually transliterated as , a symbol based on the Greek spiritus lenis , for example in the transliteration of the letter... This article or section is not written in the formal tone expected of an encyclopedia article. ... A logogram, or logograph, is a single grapheme which represents a word or a morpheme (a meaningful unit of language). ...


The term glyph is used to describe a particular physical appearance of a character. Many computer fonts consist of glyphs that are indexed by the Unicode code point of the character that each glyph represents. variant glyphs representing the character a (allographs of a) in the Zapfino typeface. ... For the origin and evolution of fonts, see History of western typography. ...


The definition of character, or abstract character, is mutually defined by The Unicode Standard and ISO/IEC 10646 as "a member of a set of elements used for the organisation, control, or representation of data." Unicode's definition supplements this with explanatory notes that encourage the reader to differentiate between characters, graphemes, and glyphs, among other things. The standards also differentiate between these abstract characters and coded characters or encoded characters that have been paired with numeric codes that facilitate their representation in computers. The international standard ISO/IEC 10646 defines the Universal Character Set (UCS) as a character encoding. ...


See also

In computer programming and some branches of mathematics, strings are sequences of various simple objects. ... In computer terminology, a fill character is a character transmitted solely for the purpose of consuming time. ... A non-spacing character, when typed, doesnt move the entry point to the next character, as in conventional typewriters where to type an ä one must type the umlaut (¨) first and then a which will go into the same space. ...

External links

  • Characters: A Brief Introduction by The Linux Information Project (LINFO)
  • ISO/IEC TR 15285:1998 summarizes the ISO/IEC's character model, focusing on terminology definitions and differentiating between characters and glyphs
Because of technical limitations, some web browsers may not display some special characters in this article.

  Results from FactBites:
 
Character (computing) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (556 words)
In computer and machine-based telecommunications terminology, a character is a unit of information that roughly corresponds to a grapheme, or symbol, in the written form of a natural language.
Computers and communication equipment represent characters using a character encoding that assigns each character to something — an integer quantity represented by a sequence of bits, typically — that can be stored or transmitted through a network.
The definition of character, or abstract character, is mutually defined by The Unicode Standard and ISO/IEC 10646 as "a member of a set of elements used for the organisation, control, or representation of data." Unicode's definition supplements this with explanatory notes that encourage the reader to differentiate between characters, graphemes, and glyphs, among other things.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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