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Program Counter

Program Counter 

A program counter is a type of register in the processor that helps execute instructions. When any instruction is provided or fetched, it will follow the instructions in the cycle. The abbreviation of it is PC. It is also set as a digital register in a computer processor, increasing the store value by one after the CPU provides every instruction.

The functions and the program’s design help maintain and protect the balance between resources and the progression of instructions to ensure the proper effectiveness. Therefore, it also helps track the current execution point when the instruction is carried out from the CPU.

What are the Functions of the Program Counter?

There are various functions of a PC. Let us discuss some of them in this article:

It minimizes the delay in executing instructions by maintaining all the crucial instructions to complete specific tasks.

The program counter acts as an instruction pointer. It indicates the memory address of the next instruction in the sequence to be executed. It points to the location in memory where the CPU should fetch the next instruction.

The counter is involved in managing subroutine calls and returns. When a subroutine is called, the current value of the counter is typically saved in a stack. Also, the program counter is updated to point to the memory address of the subroutines’ entry point. Upon completion of the subroutine, the saved value of the program counter is retrieved from the stack to resume execution of the calling program.


In conclusion, the program counter is a critical component of the CPU’s control unit. Therefore, it is responsible for managing the execution flow of instructions in a computer program. It can point to the next instruction, handle branching and jumping, manage subroutine calls, and handle interrupts. And indicate program termination ensures the orderly and efficient execution of programs on a computer system.

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