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Microprocessors

Terms related to microprocessors, including definitions about silicon chips and words and phrases about computer processors.
  • 64-bit processor (64-bit computing) - A 64-bit processor refers to a microprocessor that can process data and instructions in chunks of 64 bits.
  • accumulator - An accumulator is a type of register for short-term, intermediate storage of arithmetic and logic data in a computer's central processing unit (CPU).
  • AMD (Advanced Micro Devices) - Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) is a semiconductor company, known for designing and developing computer processors and graphics technologies.
  • AMD Virtualization (AMD-V) - AMD-V (AMD Virtualization) technology refers to a set of hardware extensions and on-chip features for the AMD family of x86 microprocessors.
  • arithmetic-logic unit (ALU) - An arithmetic-logic unit (ALU) is the part of a central processing unit (CPU) that carries out arithmetic and logic operations on the operands in computer instruction words.
  • Arm processor - An Arm processor is one of a family of CPUs based on the RISC architecture for computer processors.
  • AS/400 (IBM iSeries, AS/400e, eServer iSeries/400, Power Systems) - The IBM Application System/400 -- or AS/400 -- is a family of midrange computers that was released in 1988, succeeding both System/36 and System/38 platforms.
  • BIOS (basic input/output system) - BIOS (basic input/output system) is the program a computer's microprocessor uses to start the computer system after it is powered on.
  • bitwise - Bitwise operations manipulate data at the bit level rather than with bytes or larger units of data, as is more common.
  • bytecode - Bytecode is computer object code that an interpreter converts into binary machine code so it can be read by a computer's hardware processor.
  • cache memory - Cache memory, also called CPU memory, is high-speed static random access memory (SRAM) that a computer microprocessor can access more quickly than it can access regular random access memory (RAM).
  • clock speed - Clock speed is the number of times a second that a circuit operates and is most associated with the central processing unit (CPU).
  • complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) - A complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) is the semiconductor technology used in most of today's integrated circuits, also known as chips or microchips.
  • computer instruction - A computer instruction is an order given to a computer processor by a computer program.
  • conductor - A conductor, or electrical conductor, is a substance or material that allows electricity to flow through it.
  • context switch - A context switch is an operation that a computer's central processing unit (CPU) carries out when alternating between processes or threads while ensuring that the processes do not conflict.
  • controller (computing) - A controller, in a computing context, is a hardware device or a software program that manages or directs the flow of data between two entities.
  • debouncing - Debouncing is removing unwanted input noise from buttons, switches or other user input.
  • embedded device - An embedded device is part of a larger computing system and has a specific purpose.
  • end effector - In robotics, an end effector is a device or tool that's connected to the end of a robot arm where the hand would be.
  • fan-out - In digital circuitry, fan-out is a measure of the maximum number of digital inputs that the output of a single logic gate can feed without disrupting the circuitry's operations.
  • floating-point operations per second (FLOPS) - Floating-point operations per second (FLOPS) is a measure of a computer's performance based on the number of floating-point arithmetic calculations that the processor can perform within a second.
  • gallium arsenide field-effect transistor (GaAsFET) - A gallium arsenide field-effect transistor (GaAsFET) is a specialized type of field-effect transistor (FET) that is used in amplifier circuits at very-high, ultra-high, and microwave radio frequencies.
  • graphics processing unit (GPU) - A graphics processing unit (GPU) is a computer chip that renders graphics and images by performing rapid mathematical calculations.
  • IBM Roadrunner - Roadrunner was a supercomputer developed by IBM at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.
  • inductor - An inductor is a passive electronic component that temporarily stores energy in a magnetic field when electric current flows through the inductor's coil.
  • instruction set - An instruction set is a group of commands for a central processing unit (CPU) in machine language.
  • integrated circuit (IC) - An integrated circuit (IC), sometimes called a chip, microchip or microelectronic circuit, is a semiconductor wafer on which thousands or millions of tiny resistors, capacitors, diodes and transistors are fabricated.
  • Intel - Intel is the world's largest manufacturer of central processing units and semiconductors.
  • intellectual property core (IP core) - An intellectual property core (IP core) is a functional block of logic or data used to make a field-programmable gate array (FPGA) or application-specific integrated circuit for a product.
  • interrupt - An interrupt is a signal emitted by a device attached to a computer or from a program within the computer.
  • interrupt request (IRQ) - An interrupt request (IRQ) is a signal sent to a computer's processor to momentarily stop (interrupt) its operations.
  • logic gate (AND, OR, XOR, NOT, NAND, NOR and XNOR) - A logic gate is a device that acts as a building block for digital circuits.
  • megahertz (MHz) - Megahertz (MHz) is a unit multiplier that represents one million hertz (106 Hz).
  • memory management unit (MMU) - A memory management unit (MMU) is a computer hardware component that handles all memory and caching operations associated with the processor.
  • metal-oxide semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET) - The metal-oxide semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET, pronounced MAWS-feht) is the most common type of field-effect transistor (FET).
  • microchip - A microchip -- also called a chip, computer chip or integrated circuit (IC) -- is a unit of integrated circuitry that is manufactured at a microscopic scale using a semiconductor material, such as silicon or, to a lesser degree, germanium.
  • million instructions per second (MIPS) - Million instructions per second (MIPS) is a measure of a processor's speed, providing a standard for representing the number of instructions that a CPU can process in 1 second.
  • Mini-ITX - Mini-ITX is a compact motherboard configuration designed to support relatively low-cost computers in small spaces such as in automobiles, set-top boxes and network devices.
  • multicore processor - A multicore processor is an integrated circuit that has two or more processors attached for enhanced performance and reduced power consumption.
  • multiprocessing - Multiprocessing is the utilization of two or more central processing units (CPUs) in a single computer system.
  • multiprogramming - Multiprogramming is a rudimentary form of parallel processing in which several programs run at the same time on a uniprocessor system.
  • multithreading - Multithreading is the ability of a program or an operating system to enable more than one user at a time without requiring multiple copies of the program running in the computer.
  • nanomachine (nanite) - A nanomachine, also called a nanite, is a mechanical or electromechanical device whose dimensions are measured in nanometers (millionths of a millimeter, or units of 10 -9 meter).
  • nanosecond (ns or nsec) - A nanosecond (ns or nsec) is one-billionth (10-9) of a second.
  • operation (computing) - An operation, in computing, is an action that is carried out to accomplish a given task.
  • overclocking - Overclocking is resetting some computer component so that it runs faster than the manufacturer-specified speed.
  • Pentium - Pentium is a widely used series of microprocessors developed by Intel Corporation.
  • petaflop - A petaflop is a measure of a computer's processing speed and can be expressed as a quadrillion (thousand trillion) floating point operations per second (FLOPS).
  • pipelining - Pipelining is the process of storing and prioritizing computer instructions that the processor executes.
  • power-on reset (PoR) - A power-on reset (PoR) is a circuit that provides a predictable, regulated voltage to a microprocessor or microcontroller with the initial application of power.
  • printed circuit board (PCB) - A printed circuit board (PCB) is a structure for assembling electronic components and their connections into a unified circuit that allows electrical current to pass between components.
  • processing in memory (PIM) - Processing in memory, or PIM (sometimes called processor in memory), refers to the integration of a processor with Random Access Memory (RAM) on a single chip.
  • processor (CPU) - A processor is the logic circuitry that responds to and processes the basic instructions that drive a computer.
  • program counter - A program counter is a special register in a computer processor that contains the memory address (location) of the next program instruction to be executed.
  • protected mode - Protected mode, also called protected virtual address mode, is the primary mode of operation for an Intel-based x86 microprocessor.
  • quad-core processor - A quad-core processor is a chip with four independent units called cores that read and execute central processing unit (CPU) instructions such as add, move data and branch.
  • register (processor register, CPU register) - A processor register is one of a small set of data holding places that are part of the computer processor.
  • RISC (reduced instruction set computer) - RISC (reduced instruction set computer) is a microprocessor that is designed to perform a smaller number of computer instruction types, so it can operate at a higher speed, performing more millions of instructions per second, or MIPS.
  • Ryzen (AMD Ryzen) - Ryzen (pronounced RYE zen) is an AMD CPU aimed at the server, desktop, workstation, media center PC and all-in-one markets.
  • Scalable Processor Architecture (SPARC) - Scalable Processor Architecture (SPARC) is a 32- and 64-bit microprocessor architecture developed by Sun Microsystems in 1987.
  • SDRAM (synchronous DRAM) - SDRAM (synchronous DRAM) is a generic name for various kinds of dynamic random access memory (DRAM) that are synchronized with the clock speed that the microprocessor is optimized for.
  • semiconductor - A semiconductor is a substance that has specific electrical properties that enable it to serve as a foundation for computers and other electronic devices.
  • semiconductor fab - A semiconductor fab -- short for fabrication -- is a manufacturing plant in which raw silicon wafers are turned into integrated circuits (ICs).
  • serial communications interface (SCI) - A serial communications interface (SCI) is a device that enables the serial exchange of data -- that is, one bit at a time -- between a microprocessor and peripherals, such as printers, external drives, scanners and mice.
  • serial peripheral interface (SPI) - A serial peripheral interface (SPI) is an interface commonly used in computers and embedded systems to facilitate short-distance communication between a microcontroller and one or more peripheral integrated circuits (ICs).
  • shift register - A shift register is a digital memory circuit found in calculators, computers, and data-processing systems.
  • smart card - A smart card is a physical card that has an embedded integrated chip that acts as a security token.
  • SMP (symmetric multiprocessing) - SMP (symmetric multiprocessing) is the processing of programs by multiple processors that share a common operating system and memory.
  • stack pointer - A stack pointer is a small register that stores the memory address of the last data element added to the stack or, in some cases, the first available address in the stack.
  • substrate - A substrate is a solid substance or medium to which another substance is applied and to which that second substance adheres.
  • system-on-a-chip (SoC) - System-on-a-chip (SoC) technology is the packaging of all the necessary electronic circuits and parts for a "system" (such as a cell phone or digital camera) on a single integrated circuit (IC), generally known as a microchip.
  • thyristor - A thyristor is a four-layer semiconductor device, consisting of alternating P-type and N-type materials (PNPN).
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  • Transistor - A transistor is a miniature semiconductor that regulates or controls current or voltage flow.
  • translation lookaside buffer (TLB) - A translation lookaside buffer (TLB) is a type of memory cache that stores recent translations of virtual memory to physical addresses to enable faster retrieval.
  • USART (universal synchronous/asynchronous receiver/transmitter) - A USART (universal synchronous/asynchronous receiver/transmitter) is hardware that enables a device to communicate using serial protocols.
  • volatile - In general, volatile (from the Latin "volatilis" meaning "to fly")is an adjective used to describe something unstable or changeable.
  • voltage reference - A voltage reference is an electronic component or circuit that produces a constant DC (direct-current) output voltage regardless of variations in external conditions such as temperature, barometric pressure, humidity, current demand, or the passage of time.
  • von Neumann bottleneck - The von Neumann bottleneck is a limitation on throughput caused by the standard personal computer architecture.
  • wall time - Wall time, also called real-world time, clock time, wall-clock time or -- more accurately -- elapsed real time, is the amount of time that a program or process takes to run from start to finish as measured by a person.
  • What is server virtualization? The ultimate guide - Server virtualization is a process that creates and abstracts multiple virtual instances on a single server.
  • word (in computing) - In computer architecture, a word is a unit of data of a defined bit length that can be addressed and moved between storage and the computer processor.
  • x86-64 - x86-64 (also called x86_64, x64, or amd64) is the 64-bit CPU architecture that is used in Intel and AMD processors.
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