Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Arithmetic logic unit
- This article is about computer arithmetic units. An alternative meaning of ALU is Alu sequence.
An arithmetic[-]logic unit (ALU) is a core component of all computer CPUs. ALUs are capable of calculating the results of a wide variety of basic arithmetical computations, most commonly the following ones:
- integer arithmetic operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication)
- bitwise logic operations (AND, NOT, OR, XOR)
- bit-shifting operations (shifting or rotating a word by a specified number of bits to the left or right, with or without sign extension)
A standard ALU typically does not handle integer division or any floating point operations. For these calculations separate components, such as dividers and floating point units (FPUs), may be used, or a microcode program may use the ALU to emulate these operations.
In many designs the ALU also takes/generates as inputs/outputs a set of condition codes from/to a status register; typically these codes are used to indicate cases such as carry-in or carry-out, overflow, divide-by-zero, etc.
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