infinite loop

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infinite loop

(programming)
(Or "endless loop") Where a piece of program is executed repeatedly with no hope of stopping. This is nearly always because of a bug, e.g. if the condition for exiting the loop is wrong, though it may be intentional if the program is controlling an embedded system which is supposed to run continuously until it is turned off. The programmer may also intend the program to run until interrupted by the user. An endless loop may also be used as a last-resort error handler when no other action is appropriate. This is used in some operating system kernels following a panic.

A program executing an infinite loop is said to spin or buzz forever and goes catatonic. The program is "wound around the axle".

A standard joke has been made about each generation's exemplar of the ultra-fast machine: "The Cray-3 is so fast it can execute an infinite loop in under 2 seconds!"

See also black hole, recursion, infinite loop.

infinite loop

A series of instructions in a program that are constantly repeated. Also called an "endless loop," it may be intentional such as a never-ending demo on screen, or it may be a bug. Due to erroneous program logic, the computer is directed to instructions that keep pointing back to the start of a routine without any way of branching out. It commonly occurs when a programmer expects certain results from a compare instruction and all possible outcomes are not evaluated properly. See abend and bug.

Apple Inc., 1 Infinite Loop
To imply the never-ending creation of products, Apple's headquarters are located at 1 Infinite Loop in Cupertino, California.