cycle of reincarnation

Computing Dictionary

cycle of reincarnation definition


A term coined by Ivan Sutherland ca. 1970 to refer to a well-known effect whereby function in a computing system family is migrated out to special-purpose peripheral hardware for speed, then the peripheral evolves toward more computing power as it does its job, then somebody notices that it is inefficient to support two asymmetrical processors in the architecture and folds the function back into the main CPU, at which point the cycle begins again.
Several iterations of this cycle have been observed in graphics-processor (blitter) design, and at least one or two in communications and floating-point processors. Also known as "the Wheel of Life", "the Wheel of Samsara" and other variations of the basic Hindu/Buddhist theological idea.
[Jargon File]
(1994-11-16)
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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