The number of stages is referred to as the
* depth* of the pipeline. As an example of a pipeline, consider the
floating point addition of two numbers of the form .
One possible
breakdown of this function into stages is as follows [33]:

- If swap the operands. Find the difference in exponents .
- Shift to the right by bits.
- Compute the mantissa of the sum by adding and . The exponent of the sum is .
- Normalize the sum.