What is a Slot?

A slot is a slit or other narrow opening for receiving something, such as a coin or letter. It may also refer to a time or place, as in “We have a three-hour slot for meetings.”

In computer science, a slot is an area of memory that can be used for data or instructions. A CPU (central processing unit) has a number of slots for expansion cards, which allow it to perform various tasks simultaneously. Similarly, an operating system may have a number of slots that can be assigned to applications and files.

A popular form of gambling is the slot machine, which works by generating combinations of symbols and paying out according to a pay table. These tables can vary between machines, but some have a set number of possible winning combinations. This makes the odds of hitting a particular combination very low, but it is still one of the most common casino games.

In football, a slot receiver is the third-string wide receiver who plays on passing downs and often gets targeted by the defense. He is usually shorter and faster than the team’s primary wing-wide receivers, and great slot receivers like Wes Welker can use their speed to get open on short passes. The term can also be applied to the space between the two face-off circles on an ice hockey rink, where players line up for face-offs.