Friday, February 25, 2005

Processing (Processor)

A CPUThe arithmetic and logical unit, or ALU, is the device that performs elementary operations such as arithmetic operations (addition, subtraction, and so on), logical operations (AND, OR, NOT), and comparison operations (for example, comparing the contents of two bytes for equality). This unit is where the "real work" is done.
The control unit keeps track of which bytes in memory contain the current instruction that the computer is performing, telling the ALU what operation to perform and retrieving the information (from memory) that it needs to perform it, and transfers the result back to the appropriate memory location. Once that occurs, the control unit goes to the next instruction (typically located in the next slot (memory address), unless the instruction is a jump instruction informing the computer that the next instruction is located in another location). When referrring to memory, the current instruction may use various addressing modes to determine the relevant address in memory.