A pipeline is a segment in a processor that dramatically increases its performance, the same way an assembly line does in a factory. Deliberately designed in order to speed up processing speeds, each segment of the pipeline is optimised to perform one specific task, including but not limited to decoding instructions, fetching instructions or arguments, performing arithmetic operations, or even storing the results of a simple calculation or process. Each of these segments is completely independent, which means that different segments can work at the same time, in whatever order or combination is necessary for any set of tasks.
Technipages Explains Pipeline
This effectively achieves the effect of the processor being able to process multiple instructions at a time. For a long time, this was not possible, so when the first pipelines were incorporated into microprocessors, a huge leap in processing speed was possible. Now it’s even possible for a processor to have more than one pipeline at a time – each line is capable of the same things, featuring identical sets of distinct segments that can process tasks.
Where a processor features more than one pipeline at the same time, this is referred to as superscalar architecture. The speed increase through each added pipeline is significant – being able to process multiple instructions in small steps executed at the same time has a huge impact. Retrieving, executing and writing data back to the memory is the process that microprocessors go through – however, much like a factory assembly line, pipelines enabled a significant increase in productivity for modern computers. Modern pipelines usually feature a little over a dozen steps – that is to say, more than a dozen separate segments capable of working concurrently.
Common Uses of Pipeline
- Pipelines are a significant step up in speed from processors that did not feature segmented processing sections.
- Superscalar architecture in processors – multiple pipelines per processor – augment the huge increase in productivity that even just a single pipeline brought to computing.
- The use of pipelines in modern processor architecture relies on over a dozen segments interacting successfully each time something is sent through the pipeline.
Common Misuses of Pipeline
- Pipelines in processors describe the process that instructions travel through as they are executed, one at a time.