What Does Accumulator Mean?

As a type of traditional register, an accumulator is a design within a CPU core that holds “intermediate” results. While a computer or device is working on multi-step operations, intermediate values are sent to the accumulator and then overwritten as needed.


Techopedia Explains Accumulator

In early computing, the function of the accumulator as a temporary way to hold intermediate values for lower processing needs was fairly integral. The ENIAC, for example, had over a dozen accumulators built in. As cores progressed, the accumulator became fairly obsolete both in semantic identity and design: Newer computing architectures more often reference a general register, and with multi-core design builds, the “accumulator” as a referenced object is mainly a thing of the past.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.