= W =
wheel of reincarnation
[coined in a paper by T.H. Myer
and I.E. Sutherland "On the Design of Display Processors", Comm.
ACM, Vol. 11, no. 6, June 1968)] Term used to refer to a well-known
effect whereby function in a computing system family is migrated
out to special-purpose peripheral hardware for speed, then the
peripheral evolves toward more computing power as it does its job,
then somebody notices that it is inefficient to support two
asymmetrical processors in the architecture and folds the function
back into the main CPU, at which point the cycle begins again.
Several iterations of this cycle have been observed in
graphics-processor design, and at least one or two in
communications and floating-point processors. Also known as `the
Wheel of Life', `the Wheel of Samsara', and other variations of
the basic Hindu/Buddhist theological idea. See also blitter,
--The Jargon File version 4.3.1, ed. ESR, autonoded by rescdsk.