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Inside the Machine by Jon Stokes

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Pipelining Explained

Let’s say my friends and I have decided to go into the automotive manufacturing business and that our first product is to be a sport utility vehicle (SUV). After some research, we determine that there are five stages in the SUV-building process:

Stage 1: Build the chassis.
Stage 2: Drop the engine into the chassis.
Stage 3: Put the doors, a hood, and coverings on the chassis.
Stage 4: Attach the wheels.
Stage 5: Paint the SUV.

Each of these stages requires the use of highly trained workers with very specialized skill sets—workers who are good at building chasses don’t know much about engines, bodywork, wheels, or painting, and likewise for engine builders, painters, and the other crews. So when we make our first attempt to put together ...

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