Image: Pipeline (computer)

Pipeline (computer)

Pipeline (computer), a sequence of stages a computer uses to carry out instructions. A computer`s central processing unit (CPU, the part of a computer that interprets and executes instructions) has one or more pipelines. The CPU makes sure every stage in a pipeline is always operating on an instruction. As a stage of a pipeline in a computer`s CPU finishes manipulating an instruction, it hands its instruction to the next stage and gets another instruction from the stage before it, moving several instructions along the pipeline simultaneously. This process is more efficient than it would be if each instruction had to start at the first stage after the previous instruction finished the final stage. The more pipelines a CPU has, the faster it can execute instructions. A CPU with two or more pipelines is said to be "superpipelined" or "superscalar."

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