Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Oh wikipedia

I often feel that wikipedia articles make a binary decision between legibility (and, likely, over-simplification) and precision (and, likely, being opaque).

Double buffering was a breath of fresh air:

Now consider how you would do it if you had two buckets. You would fill the first bucket and then swap the second in under the running tap. You then have the length of time it takes for the second bucket to fill in order to empty the first into the paddling pool. When you return you can simply swap the buckets so that the first is now filling again, during which time you can empty the second into the pool. This can be repeated until the pool is full. It is clear to see that this technique will fill the pool far faster as there is much less time spent waiting, doing nothing, whilst buckets fill. This is analogous to double buffering. The tap can be on all the time and does not have to wait whilst the processing is done.

In computer science the situation of having a running tap that cannot be, or should not be, turned off is common (such as a stream of audio). Also, computers typically prefer to deal with chunks of data rather than streams. In such situations double buffering is often employed.

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