central processing unit


plural central processing units
: the component of a computer system that performs the system's basic operations (such as processing data), that exchanges data with the system's memory or peripherals, and that manages the system's other components : cpu

Examples of central processing unit in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Intel has ruled the market for central processing units since the 1980s. Dan Gallagher, WSJ, 2 Aug. 2023 That means designing traditional computing engines–the central processing unit (CPU) and graphics processing unit (GPU)–to run complex A.I. workloads, as well as creating new, dedicated A.I. engines like neural processing units (NPUs). Michelle Johnston Holthaus, Fortune, 3 Aug. 2023 Direct-memory access A mechanism in a computer that bypasses the central processing unit to gain access to memory. IEEE Spectrum, 2 July 2023 These chips combine Nvidia’s highest-performing Hopper H100 graphics processing units, now the top-of-the-line chip for generative A.I. workloads, with its Grace CPU, or central processing unit, that can handle a more diverse set of computing tasks. Jeremy Kahn, Fortune, 30 May 2023 These machines mainly rely on GPUs — graphics processing units — rather than standard central processing units, or CPUs, that drive a typical laptop. Nick Stoico, BostonGlobe.com, 23 Feb. 2023 Instead of shuttling data over long distances between a central processing unit and memory chips, neuromorphic designs imitate the architecture of the jelly-like mass in our heads, with computing units (neurons) placed next to memory (stored in the synapses that connect neurons). Quanta Magazine, 17 Feb. 2022 It is made up of nearly 10,000 CPUs, or central processing units—which perform instructions for the computer and are generally made of integrated circuits—and almost 38,000 GPUs, or graphics processing units. Sarah Scoles, Scientific American, 9 Feb. 2023 The best home security systems include several different components, such as: Central hub: Also known as the master control panel or the central processing unit (CPU), the central hub is the brains of the whole home security system that controls all the components. Kat De Naoum, Better Homes & Gardens, 29 July 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'central processing unit.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1956, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of central processing unit was in 1956

Dictionary Entries Near central processing unit

Cite this Entry

“Central processing unit.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/central%20processing%20unit. Accessed 1 Oct. 2023.

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central processing unit


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