Glossary

TIP has compiled this list of terms in order to help policy makers in their understanding of tech issues.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M
N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A

Algorithm: A set of rules and procedures that a computer can follow to complete a certain task.

Application Programming Interface (API): An API provides a framework for developers to create their own programs. It is a collection of potential operations that programmers can develop to suit their needs.

Artificial Intelligence (AI): Artificial Intelligence is a system designed to accomplish a task that normally requires human intelligence. AI systems “learn” how to do things by processing large amounts of information, finding patterns, and translating that knowledge to tasks.

B

Bluetooth: A wireless technology used to transmit data between devices in a close range.

BLE: Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) has a very low power consumption and is ideal for transmitting small amounts of data periodically. 

C

Central Server: A computer system that provides services to multiple users. A server may also store and control access to data or other resources. 

Contact log: Contact logs are records which store the contact IDs of those with whom the user interacted, and other relevant information, like the time of contact. 

Contact Tracing (CT): CT is the process of identifying exposed individuals who have come into contact with diagnosed individuals, as well as potentially notifying users of areas where there is a high risk of contracting COVID-19. CT requires the use of a central server, accessible by health authorities, to log the contacts of infected persons.

D

Database: A database consists of one or many datasets that have been organized and retained in a system/software program.

Dataset: A collection of data.

Distribution Curve: A graph of the frequency of different values.

E

Exposure Notification (EN): An EN ap-plication logs the contacts of each user and stores this information on their individual devices, and not on a central server. If a user identifies themselves as testing positive for COVID-19, the users with whom they have come into contact are notified that they may have been exposed to the virus.

F

Feature vector: A numerical representation of a person’s facial features, computed by an AI algorithm.

G

GPS: Global Positioning System (GPS) uses satellites to determine the latitude and longitude of an object.

I

ID: A contact ID is a series of randomized characters broadcasted by a user’s device throughout the day. Upon encountering another user, their IDs are exchanged and then stored in their respective contact logs.
If a user later tests positive for COVID-19, their IDs from the previous 14 days are cross-referenced with those in other contact logs, so users who came into contact with the infected user can be notified.

M

Match Score: A score between 0 and 1, indicating the likelihood that a pair of images depict the same person.

Match Score Threshold: A value between 0 and 1 – pairs with match scores above this value will be flagged as matches.

O

One-to-many: FR system that compares one photo to many photos of different people. It aims to answer the question: “Who is this person?”

One-to-one: FR system that compares one photo to many photos of the same person. It aims to answer the question: “Is this the same person?”

Open source: Code (written in a programming language) that is “open source”
is freely available to the public. An open source platform ensures that transparency, assuages public security concerns, and enables easier troubleshooting. 

P

Publicly Available Information (PAI): Publicly Available Information is information readily available via the internet, social media platforms, etc.

T

Token: The token generates each user’s contact IDs. With EN, the user’s device creates a new token every day, which then generates IDs that are broadcast throughout the day. With CT, the server creates a new token every day, and that token then generates IDs for every connected device.