dict.org

The DICT Development Group


Search for:
Search type:
Database:

Database copyright information
Server information
Wiki: Resources, links, and other information


4 definitions found
 for mainframe
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  mainframe \main"frame`\ n. (Computers)
     1. A large digital computer serving 100-400 users and
        occupying a special air-conditioned room. At any given
        point in development of computer technology, the mainframe
        will be faster, have large main memeory, and be more
        capable than a minicomputer, which will in turn be
        faster and more capable than a personal computer. The
        typical personal computer in 1999 is faster than a
        mainframe was in 1970.
  
     Syn: mainframe computer.
          [WordNet 1.5 +PJC]
  
     2. The board holding the CPU and the memory forming the
        central part of a computer to which the peripherals are
        attached.
        [WordNet 1.5]

From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) :

  mainframe
      n 1: a large digital computer serving 100-400 users and
           occupying a special air-conditioned room [syn: mainframe,
           mainframe computer]
      2: (computer science) the part of a computer (a microprocessor
         chip) that does most of the data processing; "the CPU and the
         memory form the central part of a computer to which the
         peripherals are attached" [syn: central processing unit,
         CPU, C.P.U., central processor, processor,
         mainframe]

From The Jargon File (version 4.4.7, 29 Dec 2003) :

  mainframe
   n.
  
      Term originally referring to the cabinet containing the central processor
      unit or ?main frame? of a room-filling Stone Age batch machine. After the
      emergence of smaller minicomputer designs in the early 1970s, the
      traditional big iron machines were described as ?mainframe computers? and
      eventually just as mainframes. The term carries the connotation of a
      machine designed for batch rather than interactive use, though possibly
      with an interactive timesharing operating system retrofitted onto it; it is
      especially used of machines built by IBM, Unisys, and the other great {
      dinosaurs surviving from computing's Stone Age.
  
      It has been common wisdom among hackers since the late 1980s that the
      mainframe architectural tradition is essentially dead (outside of the tiny
      market for number-crunching supercomputers having been swamped by the
      recent huge advances in IC technology and low-cost personal computing. The
      wave of failures, takeovers, and mergers among traditional mainframe makers
      in the early 1990s bore this out. The biggest mainframer of all, IBM, was
      compelled to re-invent itself as a huge systems-consulting house. (See {
      dinosaurs mating and killer micro).
  
      However, in yet another instance of the cycle of reincarnation, the port
      of Linux to the IBM S/390 architecture in 1999 ? assisted by IBM ? produced
      a resurgence of interest in mainframe computing as a way of providing huge
      quantities of easily maintainable, reliable virtual Linux servers, saving
      IBM's mainframe division from almost certain extinction.
  

From The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing (18 March 2015) :

  mainframe
  
      A term originally referring to the cabinet
     containing the central processor unit or "main frame" of a
     room-filling Stone Age batch machine.  After the emergence
     of smaller "{minicomputer" designs in the early 1970s, the
     traditional big iron machines were described as "mainframe
     computers" and eventually just as mainframes.  The term
     carries the connotation of a machine designed for batch rather
     than interactive use, though possibly with an interactive
     time-sharing operating system retrofitted onto it; it is
     especially used of machines built by IBM, Unisys and the
     other great dinosaurs surviving from computing's Stone
     Age.
  
     It has been common wisdom among hackers since the late 1980s
     that the mainframe architectural tradition is essentially dead
     (outside of the tiny market for number crunching
     supercomputers (see Cray)), having been swamped by the
     recent huge advances in integrated circuit technology and
     low-cost personal computing.  As of 1993, corporate America is
     just beginning to figure this out - the wave of failures,
     takeovers, and mergers among traditional mainframe makers have
     certainly provided sufficient omens (see dinosaurs mating).
  
     Supporters claim that mainframes still house 90% of the data
     major businesses rely on for mission-critical applications,
     attributing this to their superior performance, reliability,
     scalability, and security compared to microprocessors.
  
     [{Jargon File]
  
     (1996-07-22)
  

Questions or comments about this site? Contact webmaster@dict.org