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LIFO

Stands for "Last In, First Out." LIFO is a method of processing data in which the last items entered are the first to be removed. This is the opposite of LIFO is FIFO (First In, First Out), in which items are removed in the order they have been entered.

To better understand LIFO, imagine stacking a deck of cards by placing one card on top of the other, starting from the bottom. Once the deck has been fully stacked, you begin to remove the cards, starting from the top. This process is an example of the LIFO method, because the last cards to be placed on the deck are the first ones to be removed.

The LIFO method is sometimes used by computers when extracting data from an array or data buffer. When a program needs to access the most recent information entered, it will use the LIFO method. When information needs to be retrieved in the order it was entered, the FIFO method is used.

Updated: February 23, 2007

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