In computer architecture, a branch predictor is a digital circuit
that tries to guess which way a branch (e.g. an if-then-else
structure) will go before this is known for sure. The purpose of
the branch predictor is to improve the flow in the instruction
pipeline. Branch predictors are crucial in today's pipelined
microprocessors for achieving high performance. A two-way branching
is usually implemented with a conditional jump instruction. A
conditional jump can either be "not taken" and continue execution
with the first branch of code which follows immediately after the
conditional jump - or it can be "taken" and jump to a different
place in program memory where the second branch of code is stored.
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