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What Is Control Logic?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 14 December 2014
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Control logic is a key part of a software program that controls the operations of the program. The control logic responds to commands from the user and it also acts on its own to perform automated tasks that have been structured into the program. It is also known as the controller and is part of the underlying software architecture developed at the same time that the program is designed and coded.

The control logic operates in binary, which means that software users cannot communicate with it directly. Thus, software programs have to be equipped with a feature that can translate commands from the user into binary so the control logic can understand them. The output of the control logic occurs in binary, but is translated into a function or message by the program. Thus, when a user hits the “save” button on a word processor, it is converted into a binary signal for the control logic, which then executes the save command and returns a message through the translator to alert the user to the fact that it is finished saving.

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This part of a software program includes a clock signal that is used to time operations, along with the decode unit for binary translation. The control logic relies on the clock to ensure that operations occur in the correct order and at the proper times. While operations often seem simultaneous, there is in fact a small delay as the controller moves through a series of steps to make a function happen as requested by the user or the internal coding of the software program.

As the command center of the program, the controller is always working. Software programs are capable of conducting a number of operations at once while also working with the rest of the computer system. The control center of the program needs to balance commands from the user, directives generated inside the program, and the needs of the operating system in order to keep the program functioning reliably.

When software is in development, the control logic is tested and adjusted as needed to make it as effective and powerful as possible. The software developers may also periodically update it with new releases of the software to accommodate new functions and address bugs that emerge once the program is in regular use. Software development requires a keen eye for detail, as well as patience.

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