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I had a teacher 2 years ago who told me that computer processors only know how to add values. That you need to tell them how to substract, divide, and multiply by programming.

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closed as not a real question by Linker3000, Tom Wijsman, random May 24 '11 at 16:24

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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Closing as off-topic because you can easily get to this information by searching for it and this doesn't help you solve any problem in a practical way in a Super User context. As Ignacio shows, there is no single valid answer. Consult Wikipedia - CPU and Wikipedia - ALU for a better understanding... –  Tom Wijsman May 24 '11 at 16:13

1 Answer 1

up vote 5 down vote accepted

You can create a CPU that only knows how to sum and then derives everything from that, but modern CPUs use additional operations such as shifts as well as tables for expensive operations such as division in order to run at high speed.

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