Wheel of Reincarnation

Updated: 04/26/2017 by Computer Hope

The wheel of reincarnation, also known as the wheel of life or the wheel of samsara, refers to a phenomenon in computer hardware design where any of the conditions below are met.

  • A function of the CPU is moved to a special-purpose peripheral hardware component to improve overall system performance.
  • Over time, the peripheral component evolves to have greater processing power.
  • The CPU evolves to handle asymmetrical processes better, usually via the addition of cores, making the peripheral implementation suddenly inefficient.
  • The original functionality is moved back to the CPU, and the cycle begins again.

This cycle has proven to be more or less true in the design evolution of graphics hardware, communications technology, and floating-point processors. The term was first used in a paper presented to the Association for Computing Machinery by T. H. Meyer and I. E. Sutherland in entitled "On the Design of Display Processors." The name is a reference to Samsāra, the religious belief that life is an eternal cycle.

Design, Hardware terms