An access specifier controls the access of nonmember functions to the member functions and variables of a class. The two access specifiers used in this book are public, which allows general access to member functions and variables and private, which forbids access by nonmember functions. Also see friend.

Access time is a measure of how long it takes to retrieve data from a storage device, such as a hard disk or RAM.

Address; see memory address.

An algorithm is a set of precisely defined steps guaranteed to arrive at an answer to a problem or set of problems. As this implies, a set of steps that might never end is not an algorithm.

An argument is a value that is supplied by one function (the calling function) that wishes to make use of the services of another function (the called function). There are two main types of arguments: value arguments, which are copies of the values from the calling function, and reference arguments, which are not copies but actually refer to variables in the calling function.

An argument list is a set of argument definitions specified in a function declaration. The argument list describes the types and names of all the variables that the function receives when it is called by a calling function.

An array is a group of elements of the same type; for example, we can create an array of chars. The array name corresponds to the address of the first of these elements; the other elements follow the first one immediately in memory. As with a vector, we can refer to the individual elements by their indexes; so, if we have an array of chars called m_Data, m_Data[i] refers to the ith char in the array. Also see pointer.

The ASCII code is a standardized representation of characters by binary values. For example, the letter A is represented as a char with the hexadecimal value 41, and the digit 0 is represented as a char with the hexadecimal value 30. All other printable characters also have representations in the ASCII code.

An assembler is a program that translates assembly language instructions into machine instructions.

An assembly language instruction is the human-readable representation of a machine instruction.

Assignment is the operation of setting a variable to a value. The operator that indicates assignment is the equal sign, =.

An assignment operator is a function that sets a pre-existing variable to a value of the same type. There are three varieties of assignment operators:

  1. For a variable of a native type, the compiler supplies a native assignment operator.
  2. For a variable of a class type, the compiler will generate its own version of an assignment operator (a compiler-generated assignment operator), if the class writer does not write one.
  3. The class writer can write a member function to do the assignment.

An assignment statement such as x = 5;, is not an algebraic equality, no matter how much it may resemble one. It is a command telling the computer to assign a value to a variable. In the example, the variable is x and the value is 5.

The auto storage class is the default storage class for variables declared within C++ functions. When we define a variable of the auto storage class, its memory address is assigned automatically upon entry to the function where it is defined; the memory address is valid for the duration of that function.

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