Mathematica 9 is now available
Technology Guide--The Technology Inside Matters

Autovectorizing is the capability of an operation to apply automatically to an entire vector, matrix, or array--rather than just a single element.

Autovectorizing operations are common in Mathematica--both for built-in capabilities and as an attribute for user-specified functions.

Operating on all the data at once reduces the number of top-level calls to Mathematica, replacing them with optimized internal routines. This optimization includes the use of CPU-specific vector capabilities where available.

A further benefit of autovectorizing is cleaner, easier-to-read problem specification.

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