What is accumulator? - Definition from WhatIs.com
Part of the Computing fundamentals glossary:

An accumulator is a register for short-term, intermediate storage of arithmetic and logic data in a computer's CPU (central processing unit). The term "accumulator" is rarely used in reference to contemporary CPUs, having been replaced around the turn of the millennium by the term "register." In a modern computers, any register can function as an accumulator.

The most elementary use for an accumulator is adding a sequence of numbers. The numerical value in the accumulator increases as each number is added, exactly as it happens in a simple desktop calculator (but much faster, of course). Once the sum has been determined, it is written to the main memory or to another register.

The term "accumulator" is used in a wide variety of noncomputing applications and activities, such as electrical engineering (an energy storage device such as a rechargeable battery or ultracapacitor), hydraulics (a mechanical energy storage device), in stock trading (a contract or agreement), and even in gambling (a parlay bet).

 

Continue reading about accumulators:

The Computer Science Department at Princeton University presents a simple slide show of how a CPU works, including the role of an accumulator.

Swanson Technologies published an essay in 2003 that includes historical mention of the accumulator CPU architecture.

This was last updated in April 2012
Contributor(s): Stan Gibilisco
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

Related Terms

Definitions

  • haptics

    - Haptics (pronounced HAP-tiks) is the science of applying touch (tactile) sensation and control to interaction with computer applications. (WhatIs.com)

  • business continuance (business continuity)

    - Business continuance (sometimes referred to as business continuity) describes the processes and procedures an organization puts in place to ensure that essential functions can continue during and a... (SearchStorage.com)

  • data glove

    - A data glove is an interactive device, resembling a glove worn on the hand, which facilitates tactile sensing and fine-motion control in robotics and virtual reality. (WhatIs.com)

Glossaries

  • Computing fundamentals

    - Terms related to computer fundamentals, including computer hardware definitions and words and phrases about software, operating systems, peripherals and troubleshooting.

  • Internet applications

    - This WhatIs.com glossary contains terms related to Internet applications, including definitions about Software as a Service (SaaS) delivery models and words and phrases about web sites, e-commerce ...

Ask a Question. Find an Answer.Powered by ITKnowledgeExchange.com

Ask An IT Question

Get answers from your peers on your most technical challenges

Ask Question

Tech TalkComment

Share
Comments

    Results

    Contribute to the conversation

    All fields are required. Comments will appear at the bottom of the article.