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. The conversion of conventional (sequential) programs to serve array processors is not a trivial task, and it is sometimes necessary to select different (parallel) algorithms to suit the parallel approach.
See also parallel processing; vector processing.
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