What Is a Register?


A register is a kind of fast memory location integrated into the CPU. It is used to store instructions that are currently being processed by the processor, as well as data points that will be used to execute those instructions. There are several types of registers, each with a different purpose. The instruction register, for example, stores the machine instruction being executed, while the program counter keeps track of the CPU’s position in the program sequence. Registers are not to be confused with instruction memory, which is slower and holds the computer’s program code and data that will be fetched by the processor.

Register may also refer to:

A phonological term, referring to a particular kind of sound (or group of sounds) in a language. It may also be a term in sociolinguistics, describing the variety of language that is used in a specific communicative situation. For instance, people may speak more formally in public than they do at home with friends, and they use different vocabulary and grammatical conventions. The same applies to written communication, although the distinction between a formal and informal register is not as clear-cut.

In computer programming, a register is a fast memory location that is used to store an upcoming machine instruction. It is part of the CPU’s memory hierarchy, and it has a much shorter access time than main memory. Most registers are user accessible, meaning that the running software can specify what value to put in them. However, some of them have a special purpose, such as the program counter that keeps track of the processor’s position in its program sequence, or the arithmetic register that buffers the results of a computation.

Registers are also a key component of point-of-sale systems, which must be able to accommodate high volumes and rapidly changing inventory. They may contain information such as the name of the customer, their address and the product they are purchasing. They can be sorted by item, customer or salesperson to make it easy for employees to find what they need.

A register is also a collection of documents containing important information, such as medical records, school records or business correspondence. It may be arranged alphabetically or chronologically, and it can include indexes for easy reference. The term can also refer to a book of accounts or financial records, or to a list of current and past debtors. A register of loans is a useful tool for loan servicers to help them identify the best leads for follow-up calls or mailings. A shareholder register or share register is an authoritative list of active shareholders, usually including the name, occupation and number of shares owned by each person. This is a common part of the Securities and Exchange Commission reporting required by publicly traded companies.

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