A cache (pronounced "cash") is
|“||a place to store files locally for quicker access. Caches are used to speed up data transfer and may be either temporary or permanent. Memory and disk caches are used in every computer to speed up instruction execution and data retrieval.||”|
|“||(1) [a] special-purpose buffer storage, smaller and faster than main storage, used to hold a copy of instructions and data obtained from main storage and likely to be needed next by the processor; (2) a buffer storage that contains frequently accessed instructions and data; it is used to reduce access time; (3) an optional part of the directory database in network nodes where frequently used directory information may be stored to speed directory searches.||”|
On the Internet, a cache is a collection of data duplicating original values stored elsewhere or computed earlier, where the original data is expensive to fetch (due to long access time) or to compute, compared to the cost of reading the data from the cache.
In other words, a cache is a temporary storage area where frequently accessed data can be stored locally for rapid access. Once the data is stored in the cache, future use can be made by accessing the cached copy rather than re-fetching or recomputing the original data, so that the average access time is shorter.
- Youth, Pornography, and the Internet, at 408.
- Bits of Power: Issues in Global Access to Scientific Data, Glossary, at 197.
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