The simultaneous use of more than one CPU to execute a program. Ideally, parallel processing makes a program run faster because there are more engines (CPUs) running it. In practice, it is often difficult to divide a program in such a way that separate CPUs can execute different portions without interfering with each other.
Most computers have just one CPU, but some models have several. There are even computers with thousands of CPUs. With single-CPU computers, it is possible to perform parallel processing by connecting the computers in a network. However, this type of parallel processing requires very sophisticated software called distributed processingsoftware.
Note that parallel processing differs from multitasking, in which a single CPU executes several programs at once.
Parallel processing is also called parallel computing.
(1) Characteristic. For example, specifying parameters means defining the characteristics of something. In general, parameters are used to customize a program. For example, filenames, page lengths, and font specifications could all be considered parameters. (2) In programming, the term parameter is synonymous with argument, a value that is passed to a routine.
A virtual machine (VM) mode in which operating systems do not require complete emulation of hardware devices. Paravirtual mode uses an API to interact with the host virtualization platform. Paravirtual mode doesn’t require special virtualization technology hardware. Contrast with full virtualization.
- paravirtualized operating system
Refers to an operating system that is capable of running in paravirtual mode.
- parent directory
Refers to the directory above another directory. Every directory, except the root directory, lies beneath another directory. The higher directory is called the parent directory, and the lower directory is called a subdirectory. In DOS and UNIX systems, the parent directory is identified by two dots (..).
The quality of being either odd or even. The fact that all numbers have a parity is commonly used in data communications to ensure the validity of data. This is called parity checking.