CPU (pronounced as separate letters) is the abbreviation for central processing unit. Sometimes referred to simply as the central processor, but more commonly called , the CPU is the brains of the where most calculations take place. In terms of computing power, the CPU is the most important element of a .
On large machines, the CPU requires one or more . On and small , the CPU is housed in a single called a . Since the 1970's the microprocessor class of CPUs has almost completely overtaken all other CPU implementations.
More components of a CPU that are vital to its operation are the registers, which are very small memory locations that are responsible for holding the data that is to be processed. The most important of these registers is known as the instruction pointer, which directs the CPU to the next memory location from where it is to receive information. Another type of register is the accumulator, which is responsible for storing the next values that will be processed by the CPU. Together all of these components of a CPU are becoming faster, more compact and more powerful as time goes on and technology advances.