What is caching in layman's terms?

Caching in absolute layman terms is "keeping something that you use frequently close to you".

A simple example:

If you call someone often, odds are you will memorize their phone number. This might not represent all of the phone numbers you need, but given that it is used often, it is highly effective to have this number memorized ; effectively, your brain is "caching" this information.

3 Replies to “What is caching in layman's terms?”

  1. Suppose you have a young child and he is very active and play all time with his friends. Sometimes he comes back home hungry requesting for food. Let's suppose that your child's meal is a can of soup. So, what should you do? Should you go to Campbell's main factory to get some cans of soup? You don't need to do it, because the corner street market already requested thousands of cans from Campbell, because your neighbour already requested the same supermarket earlier for soup to feed his child. The supermarket cached cans of soup for their clients!

    Now you can go to the corner street market and request for 20 cans of soup, to be sure that the next time your son request for food, you gonna have cans of soup cached in your food pantry.

    Putting in other words, caching is mechanism for storing data from previous requests so the future requests can be served faster.

  2. In your computer's memory are stored lots of instructions and data. Most of the computer's time is spent fetching this data and instruction rather than processing it which takes much less time.

    Another fact is that the faster you want the fetching to be, the more expensive the memory. About this fetching, it is observed that you never need to fetch more than a small % of the data and instructions. It is also possible to predict which data and instructions need to be fetched.

    What caching does is keeps information most likely to be fetched in a smaller, faster memory so that fetching most of the information becomes fast.

  3. Suppose you want to find a certain piece of information on your computer. Instead of just looking it up all the time, you can use a cache so that it will be faster every time you want to look for it.

    An example in everyday life that doesn't involve computers: suppose I am studying for a math test and I know that I really need to practice logarithms. So I could find the page in my textbook about logarithms every single time, which would be slow and annoying. Or I could just put a bookmark in the textbook where the bit about logarithms is, and that way I could easily refer to it every time, saving time and energy.

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