read-only memory (ROM)

Memory for which the contents may be read but cannot be written to by the computer system. Read-only memory is used for both data and programs. There are optical ROM systems (e.g. CD-ROM), and semiconductor (integrated circuit) ROM systems. The term ROM is frequently used to mean the (integrated circuit) read-only memory used to hold programs and associated data for building into computers. Software in ROM is fixed during manufacture, but there are other ways of putting programs and data into ROM.