As overhead (German management data ) are in the electronic data processing (EDP) data that is not primarily to the user data include, but are needed as additional information for transmission or storage. This includes, for example, a verification code sent back from the recipient to the sender in order to ensure the correctness of the transmitted data.
This additional data can be compared with a box when sending a parcel: Although the addressee is only interested in the content, the box is required to transport the actual goods. After shipping, the box is no longer needed.
Overhead arises quite generally in computer programs , for example the memory overhead when a function is called by the memory required by the stack ; Dynamic memory allocation has a time overhead (see memory management ), as does dynamic type checking or type conversion of variables, which are often used in scripting languages . But overhead is also generally translated as additional work, which z. B. must be carried out often and unnecessarily by grinding , especially if a termination criterion has already been met.
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