character set

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character set
1. The set of characters that is handled by a specified machine or allowed by a given programming language or protocol. The set usually includes the alphanumeric characters, special characters, and operation characters (see table), all of which are graphic characters, and various control characters. Graphic characters thus denote a printed mark or a space while control characters produce some particular effect.

Two of the widest used character sets are ASCII (American standard code for information interchange) and EBCDIC (extended binary coded decimal interchange code). EBCDIC is used primarily on IBM machines while ASCII, introduced in 1963, is in more general use. International 8-bit character sets are defined in ISO 8859, which covers Latin-based languages, Cyrillic, Arabic, Greek, and Hebrew. See also Latin alphabet.

2. Any set of symbols used for a particular purpose, not necessarily connected with computing.

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CHARACTER SET.
1. Also character repertoire. A set of print characters available in a particular type or font.

2. A set of numbers, letters, punctuation marks, special symbols, and other representations formed from patterns of computer bits, such as ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange: pronounced ‘Askee’) introduced in 1963, EBCDIC (Extended Binary Coded Decimal Interchange Code: pronounced ‘Eb-see-dick’), used by IBM, and ISO7 (International Standards Organization 7-bit Code). The most complex sets relate to East Asia: for example, the 256 possibilities in an 8-bit byte are inadequate for the characters of Chinese and Japanese, and so 16-bit representations are used instead. See COMPUTING.

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