Sampling Like Run DMC

There’s not much math directly involved, but yes this is what it means, mostly. There are many programs running on a modern PC. Note that in the next phase of this post, I am simplifying greatly, and not using proper industry terms to make this more comprehensible. That said, programs operate in “time slices” that they request from the CPU (remember, eliding a lot here!*) The CPU has a clock speed, say 2.5Ghz. That means each second, it can do 2.5 billion things.**

There is no way to represent the complexity of what the CPU might be doing here in the task manager, or anywhere else. It simply occurs too quickly for human comprehension. Even 1/1000 as fast as modern computers operate would be too rapid.

In the task manager, and anywhere else, all that you see is sampled and “smudged,” meaning that some important events (like CPU spiking) that might happen for a few milliseconds show up for longer than that in the task manager so they can actually be visible. There’s more going on than this, too, but it’s all a hack to make the opaque and incomprehensible transparent and understandable. The amazing part is that it works well enough to be usable given the disparity between human and computer speed.

*This is not how a computer actually works. There are at least three layers between what I am saying here.

**A very, very extreme simplification in at least six different ways.