As you read a variety of materials today, from TED talks and newspaper articles to text messages and emails from friends, consider how the language used differs across each. This variation in formality, called register, is a central concept in rhetoric and writing studies. By understanding register, writers, speakers, and knowledge workers can make more informed choices about the personas they adopt and the vocabulary they use.
A register is a list of names and addresses that is maintained by the government for purposes of taxation and other administrative matters. The word is also used figuratively to refer to any official record or listing, such as a school register of pupils or a medical records register for patients.
During arithmetic and logic operations on the CPU, registers store operands, intermediate results and flags temporarily for immediate processing to ensure smooth program execution. They also play an important role in a technique known as pipelining, which increases performance by overlapping the execution of instructions.
The term is also used in a more abstract way to describe the overall formality of language: a writer might deliberately adjust their register to match that of their audience or purpose, choosing slang and contractions when addressing close friends but using a more respectful tone when interacting with co-workers or experts (see the article on Rhetorical Stance for more). This approach is known as writing in a style or register.
When a register is used to store information or instructions, it is generally compact and high speed and can be accessed quickly when needed. This makes them ideal for temporary storage of data and commands. Registers are also the basis of the memory system in most computers, storing both current and past data for immediate access by the CPU.
In computer engineering, a register is a memory device that holds data and instructions. A basic register is a set of flip-flops that save binary data, with gates controlling when and how new data is added to the register. There are many different types of register available commercially, from simple to very complex.
In a computer, a register is a component of the central processing unit (CPU) that receives data and executable instructions from main memory and performs arithmetic calculations and logical comparisons according to an instruction set. It is a small buffer that stores data and results during these operations so that they can be processed faster than if the results were stored in main memory. Registers are also used in the CPU’s pipeline to increase efficiency and performance. They are the brains behind processor performance.