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McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


1. Abbr. for “aggregate base course.”
2. Abbr. for “Associated Builders and Contractors.”
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.




An imperative language and programming environment from CWI, Netherlands. It is interactive, structured, high-level, and easy to learn and use. It is a general-purpose language which you might use instead of BASIC, Pascal or AWK. It is not a systems-programming language but is good for teaching or prototyping.

ABC has only five data types that can easily be combined; strong typing, yet without declarations; data limited only by memory; refinements to support top-down programming; nesting by indentation. Programs are typically around a quarter the size of the equivalent Pascal or C program, and more readable.

ABC includes a programming environment with syntax-directed editing, suggestions, persistent variables and multiple workspaces and infinite precision arithmetic.

An example function words to collect the set of all words in a document:

HOW TO RETURN words document: PUT IN collection FOR line in document: FOR word IN split line: IF word collection: INSERT word IN collection RETURN collection

Interpreter/compiler, version 1.04.01, by Leo Geurts, Lambert Meertens, Steven Pemberton <>. ABC has been ported to Unix, MS-DOS, Atari, Macintosh.

FTP, FTP, FTP uunet.

Mailing list: <>.

E-mail: <>.

["The ABC Programmer's Handbook" by Leo Geurts, Lambert Meertens and Steven Pemberton, published by Prentice-Hall (ISBN 0-13-000027-2)].

["An Alternative Simple Language and Environment for PCs" by Steven Pemberton, IEEE Software, Vol. 4, No. 1, January 1987, pp. 56-64.]
This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (


(Atanasoff-Berry Computer) The first electronic digital computer. Completed in 1942 by Iowa State Professor John Atanasoff and graduate student Clifford Berry, it employed many of the principles of future computers. For example, although physically in the form of rotating drums, its memory used capacitors that were constantly being recharged like today's dynamic RAM (see DRAM).

The ABC used a standard IBM card reader for input and an odometer-like device for output. For interim storage, Atanasoff devised a binary punch and reader that could very quickly store 1,500 bits on paper sheets by electrostatically burning holes in them. The ABC could solve 29 linear equations with 29 unknowns in one 24-hour day, a marvel for its time.

It Took Years for Recognition
John Mauchly, cobuilder of the ENIAC, began corresponding with Atanasoff in 1940 and visited him in 1941. Although Eckert and Mauchly's machine gained international attention, Atanasoff was not recognized until years later. A 1973 court overturned an ENIAC patent, stating that the basic ideas of the modern computer came from Atanasoff. Some 17 years later at the age of 87, he was finally honored by receiving the National Medal of Technology.

In 1994, an Iowa State University team started building a replica of the ABC. It took three years to complete, but worked exactly as it was supposed to.

Old and New
Clifford Berry (top) stands at the original ABC, circa 1942, while John Erickson, reconstruciton team member (bottom), puts a card into the replica that he helped build more than a half century later. (Images courtesy of Iowa State University.)

Old and New
Clifford Berry (top) stands at the original ABC, circa 1942, while John Erickson, reconstruciton team member (bottom), puts a card into the replica that he helped build more than a half century later. (Images courtesy of Iowa State University.)

ABC Components
This shows all the components of the ABC machine. (Image courtesy of Iowa State University.)
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References in periodicals archive ?
Petersburg (Fla.) Times 103,411 -9.2% SOURCE: Audit Bureau of Circulations Publisher Statements
Dias discusses digital circulation in her article and some of the finer points of the Audit Bureau of Circulations' recent change to its definition of digital magazines.
The Audit Bureau of Circulations said that it received figures from 85% of the 882 US daily newspapers it counts among its members.
Census Bureau, Audit Bureau of Circulations, American Booksellers Association, Yellow Pages, American Library Directory, and National Directory of Magazines.
The magazine also had a strong circulation of 651,000, according to the most recent figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations.
In a move that pleased publishers, the Audit Bureau of Circulations changed its rules for calculating magazine circulation.
The latest figures from the newspaper industry's Audit Bureau of Circulations show that our sales for 1995 were up on 1994 by more than 48,000 copies...and that's the BIGGEST increase in the entire popular Sunday newspaper market.
The Audit Bureau of Circulations yesterday released figures on U.S.
New Britain, CT, June 09, 2010 --( In a new article on his blog, publishing consultant William Dunkerley answers a reader's question regarding iPad digital editions and compliance with the latest Audit Bureau of Circulations rules.
THAT'S CERTAINLY THE HOPE OF the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC)--and the metro dailies with most to lose if this wider look at audience doesn't convince advertisers of newspapers' reach.
WEEKDAYS 2008 2007 change Arkansas Democrat- Gazette 34,340 34,973 -1.81% The Morning News 31,571 32,738 -3.56% SUNDAYS 2008 2007 change Arkansas Democrat- Gazette 44,001 44,217 -0.49% The Morning News 39,246 40,648 -3.45% Source: Audit Bureau of Circulations
A redefinition of a "paid" copy -- which will include papers sold "regardless of the price" -- is just one of seven changes to circulation rules that were initially approved last week by the board of the Audit Bureau of Circulations. Additionally, the rule changes touch upon which papers must be audited annually, the conversion of home subscriber, the adoption of a "paid/verified" reporting model and changing the classification of papers distributed at hotels.

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