Archive for 27th November 2012

As an example, consider binary addition, carried out from least to most significant bit (as usual). We can immediately compute the first (least significant) bit of the result, but in order to compute the second bit, we’ll have to know whether or not a carry resulted from the first addition. More generally, the $\left(n+1\right)$th sum & carry require knowing the $n$th carry, so this algorithm does not allow parallel execution. Even if we have one processor per bit position, only one processor will be able to work at a time, due to the linear chain of dependencies.