Part of the Programming glossary:

In computer programming, a loop is a sequence of instruction s that is continually repeated until a certain condition is reached. Typically, a certain process is done, such as getting an item of data and changing it, and then some condition is checked such as whether a counter has reached a prescribed number. If it hasn't, the next instruction in the sequence is an instruction to return to the first instruction in the sequence and repeat the sequence. If the condition has been reached, the next instruction "falls through" to the next sequential instruction or branches outside the loop. A loop is a fundamental programming idea that is commonly used in writing programs.

An infinite loop is one that lacks a functioning exit routine . The result is that the loop repeats continually until the operating system senses it and terminates the program with an error or until some other event occurs (such as having the program automatically terminate after a certain duration of time).

This was last updated in September 2005
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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