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What is FPU?

What is FPU?
FPU stands for Floating Point Unit and is part of computer chips or processors that is involved with arithmetic computations. It could also be a separate unit from the computer’s microprocessor setup, and may be called a “math co-processor” which is tasked to do quicker numeric calculations.

The floating point unit (FPU) is used by computer processors especially in mathematical calculations that are rather large and this may include logarithmic, exponential, and/or trigonometric functions. Or it may be quite simple as basic floating point arithmetic computations like addition, and multiplication. Computer processors also use FPU in number loading or storage and even in comparisons using several integers.

Many of computer processors in the past don’t have floating units in them, including the chips from Intel and Motorola in the early 1980s. Though some chips can handle arithmetic computations, they did it using ALU or Arithmetic Logic Unit. This is the part of the processor that can add or multiply binary values and can handle logical expressions using OR, AND, and XOR. Stored permanently in the ALU unit are the algorithms required for the logical and/or numeric calculations. For old computers without built-in FPUs on the microprocessor, one can download an FPU emulator on the web. This external program will be able to help with the mathematical and/or logical computations needed by the microprocessor, but it will not offer the same speed as those with FPU built-in.

Aside from basic math functions like adding, multiplying, subtracting, and dividing numeric values, a floating point unit (FPU) can also handle square root computations, logarithmic calculations, trigonometric processes, and scaling.

Today, many of Intel’s chips already have FPUs built-in. Having a floating point unit (FPU) on the microprocessor is said to make it run faster. It also allows for more accurate and precise mathematical calculations.

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Posted by Erwin Z on Feb 27th, 2011 and filed under Computer. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response via following comment form or trackback to this entry from your site