Array Processor Definition/Meaning:
A computer/processor that has an architecture especially
designed for processing arrays (e.g. matrices) of numbers. The architecture
includes a number of processors (say 64 by 64) working simultaneously, each
handling one element of the array, so that a single operation can apply to all
elements of the array in parallel. To obtain the same effect in a conventional
processor, the operation must be applied to each element of the array
sequentially, and so consequently much more slowly.
An array processor may be
built as a self-contained unit attached to a main computer via an I/O port or
internal bus; alternatively, it may be a distributed array processor where the
processing elements are distributed throughout, and closely
linked to, a section of the computer's memory.
Array processors are very powerful tools for handling problems with a high
degree of parallelism. They do however demand a modified approach to
programming, which has not yet reached full maturity (1983). Conversion of
conventional (sequential) programs to serve array processors is not a trivial
task, and it is sometimes necessary to select a different (parallel) algorithm
to suit the parallel approach. See also vector processing.