Branch prediction

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In computer architecture, a branch predictor is the part of a processor that determines whether a conditional branch (jump) in the instruction flow of a program is likely to be taken or not. This is called branch prediction.

Branch predictors are important in today's modern, superscalar processors for achieving high performance. They allow processors to fetch and execute instructions without waiting for a branch to be resolved.

Almost all pipelined processors do branch prediction of some form, because they must guess the address of the next instruction to fetch before the current instruction has been executed.

Many earlier microprogrammed CPUs did not do branch prediction because there was little or no performance requirements; for this reason there is no need for altering the flow of the instruction stream.

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