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What is ALU?

Definition – What does ALU (Arithmetic Logic Unit) mean?

Arithmetic Logic Unit (ALU) is a circuit within a CPU or GPU that performs all the arithmetic and logic operations. The arithmetic instructions include addition, subtraction, shifting operations and lots of others, while logic instructions include Boolean comparisons, such as AND, XOR, and NOT operations.

Glossary Web explains ALU (Arithmetic Logic Unit)

Arithmetic Logic Unit is specially designed to perform integer calculations. Therefore, besides subtractions and adding numbers, it also handles the multiplication of two integers, also the result is also an integer. However, the term ALU does not perform division operations, since the result may be a fraction or a floating point integer. Instead, the division is usually handled by the floating-point unit that also performs other non-integer calculations.

While the ALU is an important component of all processors, the function and the design of an ALU may vary between different processor models. i.e., some arithmetic logic units only perform integer calculations, but the others are created to handle floating point operations as well. Most of the processors contain a single ALU, while others offer multiple arithmetic logic units that work together in order to perform calculations. Regardless of the way an Arithmetic Logic Unit is specially designed and its primary job is to handle all the integer operations. Therefore, a computer’s integer performance is tense directly to the processing speed of the ALU.

Martin Adler

Martin Adler is a Computer Engineer and an accomplished writer with a passion for inspiring everyone with exciting technologies. He loves to explore technical terms and try to deliver something worth reading.