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A device that converts sound waves into analogous electrical waves. Commonly called a "mic" (pronounced "mike"), it contains a flexible diaphragm composed of film or foil that vibrates as it makes contact with the sound. The diaphragm movement modulates an electrical current by various methods. In a carbon mic, used in telephones for more than a hundred years, the diaphragm alters the pressure in carbon grains, changing its resistance.

Condenser Microphones
In a condenser mic, also called an "electrostatic mic" or "capacitor mic," the diaphragm changes the capacitance between itself and a metal plate, both acting as electrodes. The widely used electret mic has a charged dielectric between the electrodes that generates voltage.

Crystal and Dynamic Microphones
Crystal microphones use a piezoelectric diaphragm that produces voltage when subjected to the sound waves (mechanical pressure).

Dynamic mics, which are like speakers in reverse, use a diaphragm attached to a movable coil that generates voltage as air moves the coil between the poles of a magnet.

Unidirectional shotgun and cardioid mics aimed at a sound source eliminate much of the ambient noise, whereas omnidirectional microphones capture everything in the surrounding environment. The cardioid name comes from its heart-shaped pickup pattern. In the past, bidirectional mics were used for interviews; however, two unidirectional mics are commonly used instead.

Xeon Phi

A family of x86 coprocessors from Intel for parallel computing. Dubbed the "Many Integrated Core" (MIC) architecture, Xeon Phi chips run at lower speeds than ordinary Intel CPUs but make up for the speed with multiple cores. Xeon Phi chips can be used stand-alone or in conjunction with Intel's full-blown Xeon processors. The 50-core Knights Corner was the first implementation of the Xeon Phi line, followed by Knights Landing. See Xeon and high-performance computing.
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