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Computing (FOLDOC) dictionary
cycle crunch
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jargon A situation wherein the number of people trying to
use a computer simultaneously has reached the point where no
one can get enough cycles because they are spread too thin
and the system has probably begun to thrash.
This scenario is an inevitable result of Parkinson's Law
applied to time-sharing. Usually the only solution is to
buy more computer. Happily, this has rapidly become easier
since the mid-1980s, so much so that the very term "cycle
crunch" now has a faintly archaic flavour; most hackers now
use workstations or personal computers as opposed to
traditional time-sharing systems.