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Computing (FOLDOC) dictionary (also found in English - English (Wordnet), )
central processing unit
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architecture, processor (CPU, processor) The part of a
computer which controls all the other parts. Designs vary
widely but, in general, the CPU consists of the controlunit, the arithmetic and logic unit (ALU) and memory
(registers, cache, RAM and ROM) as well as various
temporary buffers and other logic.
The control unit fetches instructions from memory and decodes
them to produce signals which control the other part of the
computer. This may cause it to transfer data between memory
and ALU or to activate peripherals to perform input or
A parallel computer has several CPUs which may share other
resources such as memory and peripherals.
The term "processor" has to some extent replaced "CPU", though
RAM and ROM are not normally considered as part of a
processor. This is particularly true of common modern
microprocessors though there have been microprocessors which
include RAM and/or ROM on the same integrated circuit.