An arithmetic logic unit (ALU) is a digital circuit used to perform arithmetic and logic operations. It represents the fundamental building block of the central processing unit (CPU) of a computer. Modern CPUs contain very powerful and complex ALUs. In addition to ALUs, modern CPUs contain a control unit (CU).
Most of the operations of a CPU are performed by one or more ALUs, which load data from input registers. A register is a small amount of storage available as part of a CPU. The control unit tells the ALU what operation to perform on that data and the ALU stores the result in an output register. The control unit moves the data between these registers, the ALU, and memory.