What Is a Slot?


A slot is an allocation of a scheduled time and place for an aircraft to take off or land. Air traffic controllers award slots according to a schedule, and airlines bid for them. If an airline does not have enough slots to fly all of its planned routes, it may sell some of its slots.

A slot machine is a casino game that takes in cash or paper tickets with barcodes, activated by a lever or button (physical or virtual). The reels then spin and if the symbols line up on the payline, the player receives credits based on the pay table. Many modern machines also offer a variety of bonus features, which often align with the theme of the machine.

In football, a slot receiver is a wide receiver who plays in the slot position, close to the line of scrimmage. The slot receiver is typically smaller and quicker than a traditional boundary receiver, and they can be used to stretch defenses vertically by running shorter routes on the route tree, such as slants and quick outs. Slot receivers are becoming increasingly important in the NFL as teams move to more spread offenses and rely on quick slot receivers to gain an advantage on their opponents’ secondary.

Another common type of slot is the expansion slot, which provides space for additional devices on a computer’s motherboard. These are usually located on the back of the motherboard, but some newer computers have expansion slots on the front of the case. Generally, expansion slots are used for memory or hard drives, but some can be used for optical drives and other devices.

The term “slot” is also used to describe the process of scheduling operations in a computer, especially a very long instruction word (VLIW) computer. The operation issue and data path machinery is arranged in a series of slots, with each slot representing an execution unit or FU. The CPU allocates resources to these slots according to the priority and deadline of each task in its queue, and then executes them sequentially using the appropriate pipeline. This approach allows the processor to run more tasks at once, but it can also lead to race conditions and other problems.

The candle on top of a slot machine is a small light that flashes to indicate various conditions, such as change needed, hand pay requested, or a technical fault. It is often accompanied by a bell or other auditory signal. In electromechanical slot machines, this lamp was often referred to as a tilt switch; however, most modern machines no longer have such switches, but any kind of malfunction is still sometimes called a “tilt.”