So now that we’ve built and programmed our very own CPU, we’re going to take a step back and look at how CPU speeds have rapidly increased from just a few cycles per second to gigahertz! Some of that improvement, of course, has come from faster and more efficient transistors, but a number hardware designs have been implemented to boost performance. And you’ve probably heard or read about a lot of these – they’re the buzz words attached to just about every new CPU release – terms like instruction pipelining, cache, FLOPS, superscalar, branch prediction, multi-core processors, and even super computers! These designs are pretty complicated, but the fundamental concepts behind them are not. So bear with us as we introduce a lot of new terminology including what might just be the best computer science term of all time: the dirty bit. Let us explain.
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