Pico della Mirandola Giovanni

<history of philosophy, biography> Italian thinker (1463-1494) who studied in Florence with Marsillio Ficino. Pico's De hominis dignitate (Oration on the Dignity of Man) (1486) is an excellent statement of the principles of Renaissance humanism. He supposed it possible for an individual human being, as a microcosm of nature, to reconcile all philosophical positions in a single grand system of thought. Recommended Reading: Pico Della Mirandola, A Platonic Discourse on Love (Holmes, 1994) and S. A. Farmer, Syncretism in the West: Pico's 900 Theses (Medieval & Renaissance, 1998).

[A Dictionary of Philosophical Terms and Names]

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picture

image

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picture element

<graphics> (pixel) The smallest resolvable rectangular area of an image, either on a screen or stored in memory. Each pixel in a monochrome image has its own brightness, from 0 for black to the maximum value (e.g. 255 for an eight-bit pixel) for white. In a colour image, each pixel has its own brightness and colour, usually represented as a triple of red, green and blue intensities (see RGB).

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pipeline

<architecture> A sequence of functional units ("stages") which performs a task in several steps, like an assembly line in a factory. Each functional unit takes inputs and produces outputs which are stored in its output buffer. One stage's output buffer is the next stage's input buffer. This arrangement allows all the stages to work in parallel thus giving greater throughput than if each input had to pass through the whole pipeline before the next input could enter.

The costs are greater latency and complexity due to the need to synchronise the stages in some way so that different inputs do not interfere. The pipeline will only work at full efficiency if it can be filled and emptied at the same rate that it can process.

Pipelines may be synchronous or asynchronous. A synchronous pipeline has a master clock and each stage must complete its work within one cycle. The minimum clock period is thus determined by the slowest stage. An asynchronous pipeline requires handshaking between stages so that a new output is not written to the interstage buffer before the previous one has been used.

Many CPUs are arranged as one or more pipelines, with different stages performing tasks such as fetch instruction, decode instruction, fetch arguments, arithmetic operations, store results. For maximum performance, these rely on a continuous stream of instructions fetched from sequential locations in memory. Pipelining is often combined with instruction prefetch in an attempt to keep the pipeline busy.

When a branch is taken, the contents of early stages will contain instructions from locations after the branch which should not be executed. The pipeline then has to be flushed and reloaded. This is known as a pipeline break.

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pipeline break

<architecture> (Or "pipeline stall") The delay caused on a processor using pipelines when a transfer of control is taken. Normally when a control-transfer instruction (a branch, conditional branch, call or trap) is taken, any following instructions which have been loaded into the processor's pipeline must be discarded or "flushed" and new instructions loaded from the branch destination. This introduces a delay before the processor can resume execution.

"Delayed control-transfer" is a technique used to reduce this effect.

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piracy

software piracy

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pistis

<philosophical terminology> most general Greek term for belief or faith as a subjective state. According to Plato, this occupies a higher part of the lower portion of the divided line. Recommended Reading: F. E. Peters, Greek Philosophical Terms: A Historical Lexicon (NYU, 1967).

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pity appeal to

<philosophical terminology, argumentum ad misericordiam the informal fallacy that tries to elicit feelings of mercy from an audience. Recommended Reading: Douglas N. Walton, Appeal to Pity: Argumentum Ad Misericordiam (SUNY, 1997).

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