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Mode of computer operation in which two or more processors (seeCPU) are connected and are active at the same time. In such a system, each processor is executing a different program or set of instructions, thus increasing computation speed over a system that has only one processor (which means only one program can be executed at a time). Because the processors must sometimes access the same resource (as when two processors must write to the same disk), a system program called the task manager has to coordinate the processors' activities.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on multiprocessing, visit Britannica.com.