A datapath is a collection of functional units such as arithmetic logic units or multipliers, that perform data processing operations, registers, and buses. Along with the control unit it composes the central processing unit (CPU).
During the late 1990s, there was growing research in the area of reconfigurable datapaths—datapaths that may be re-purposed at run-time using programmable fabric—as such designs may allow for more efficient processing as well as substantial power savings.
- The Essentials of Computer Organization and Architecture by Null & Lobur, 4e, pg 216 "All computers have a CPU that can be divided into two pieces. The first is the datapath, which is a network of storage units (registers) and arithmetic and logic units... connected by buses... where the timing is controlled by clocks."
- J. R. Hauser and J. Wawrzynek, Garp: a MIPS processor with a reconfigurable coprocessor, FCCM’97, 1997, pp. 12–21.[dead link]