infinite loop

Computing Dictionary

infinite loop definition

programming
(Or "endless loop") Where a piece of program is executed repeatedly with no hope of stopping. This is nearly always because of a bug, e.g. if the condition for exiting the loop is wrong, though it may be intentional if the program is controlling an embedded system which is supposed to run continuously until it is turned off. The programmer may also intend the program to run until interrupted by the user. An endless loop may also be used as a last-resort error handler when no other action is appropriate. This is used in some operating system kernels following a panic.
A program executing an infinite loop is said to spin or buzz forever and goes catatonic. The program is "wound around the axle".
A standard joke has been made about each generation's exemplar of the ultra-fast machine: "The Cray-3 is so fast it can execute an infinite loop in under 2 seconds!"
See also black hole, recursion, infinite loop.
[Jargon File]
(1996-05-11)

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
Cite This Source
Explore Dictionary.com
Previous Definition: infinite integral
Next Definition: infinite monkey theorem
Words Near: infinite loop
More from Thesaurus.com
Synonyms and Antonyms for infinite loop
More from Reference.com
Search for articles containing infinite loop
More from Dictionary.com Translator
Dictionary.com Word FAQs

Dictionary.com presents 366 FAQs, incorporating some of the frequently asked questions from the past with newer queries.

Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature