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In computing, input/output or I/O (or, informally, io or IO) is the communication between an information processing system, such as a computer, and the outside world, possibly a human or another information processing system. Inputs are the signals or data received by the system and outputs are the signals or data sent from it. The term can also be used as part of an action; to "perform I/O" is to perform an input or output operation.
Computing is any activity that uses computers. It includes developing hardware and software, and using computers to manage and process information, communicate and entertain. Computing is a critically important, integral component of modern industrial technology. Major computing disciplines include computer engineering, software engineering, computer science, information systems, and information technology.
A computer is a device that can be instructed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically via computer programming. Modern computers have the ability to follow generalized sets of operations, called programs. These programs enable computers to perform an extremely wide range of tasks. A "complete" computer including the hardware, the operating system, and peripheral equipment required and used for "full" operation can be referred to as a computer system. This term may as well be used for a group of computers that are connected and work together, in particular a computer network or computer cluster.
An information processor or information processing system, as its name suggests, is a system which takes information in one form and processes (transforms) it into another form, e.g. to statistics, by an algorithmic process.
I/O devices are the pieces of hardware used by a human (or other system) to communicate with a computer. For instance, a keyboard or computer mouse is an input device for a computer, while monitors and printers are output devices. Devices for communication between computers, such as modems and network cards, typically perform both input and output operations.
In computing, a computer keyboard is a typewriter-style device which uses an arrangement of buttons or keys to act as mechanical levers or electronic switches. Following the decline of punch cards and paper tape, interaction via teleprinter-style keyboards became the main input method for computers.
A computer mouse is a hand-held pointing device that detects two-dimensional motion relative to a surface. This motion is typically translated into the motion of a pointer on a display, which allows a smooth control of the graphical user interface. The first public demonstration of a mouse controlling a computer system was in 1968. Originally wired to a computer, many modern mice are cordless, relying on short-range radio communication with the connected system. Mice originally used a ball rolling on a surface to detect motion, but modern mice often have optical sensors that have no moving parts. In addition to moving a cursor, computer mice have one or more buttons to allow operations such as selection of a menu item on a display. Mice often also feature other elements, such as touch surfaces and "wheels", which enable additional control and dimensional input.
In computing, an input device is a piece of computer hardware equipment used to provide data and control signals to an information processing system such as a computer or information appliance. Examples of input devices include keyboards, mouse, scanners, digital cameras and joysticks. Audio input devices may be used for purposes including speech recognition. Many companies are utilizing speech recognition to help assist users to use their device(s).
The designation of a device as either input or output depends on perspective. Mouse and keyboards take physical movements that the human user outputs and convert them into input signals that a computer can understand; the output from these devices is the computer's input. Similarly, printers and monitors take signals that a computer outputs as input, and they convert these signals into a representation that human users can understand. From the human user's perspective, the process of reading or seeing these representations is receiving output; this type of interaction between computers and humans is studied in the field of human–computer interaction.
A user is a person who utilizes a computer or network service. Users of computer systems and software products generally lack the technical expertise required to fully understand how they work. Power users use advanced features of programs, though they are not necessarily capable of computer programming and system administration.
Human–computer interaction (HCI) researches the design and use of computer technology, focused on the interfaces between people (users) and computers. Researchers in the field of HCI both observe the ways in which humans interact with computers and design technologies that let humans interact with computers in novel ways. As a field of research, human–computer interaction is situated at the intersection of computer science, behavioral sciences, design, media studies, and several other fields of study. The term was popularized by Stuart K. Card, Allen Newell, and Thomas P. Moran in their seminal 1983 book, The Psychology of Human–Computer Interaction, although the authors first used the term in 1980 and the first known use was in 1975. The term connotes that, unlike other tools with only limited uses, a computer has many uses and this takes place as an open-ended dialog between the user and the computer. The notion of dialog likens human–computer interaction to human-to-human interaction, an analogy which is crucial to theoretical considerations in the field.
In computer architecture, the combination of the CPU and main memory, to which the CPU can read or write directly using individual instructions, is considered the brain of a computer. Any transfer of information to or from the CPU/memory combo, for example by reading data from a disk drive, is considered I/O.The CPU and its supporting circuitry may provide memory-mapped I/O that is used in low-level computer programming, such as in the implementation of device drivers, or may provide access to I/O channels. An I/O algorithm is one designed to exploit locality and perform efficiently when exchanging data with a secondary storage device, such as a disk drive.
A central processing unit (CPU), also called a central processor or main processor, is the electronic circuitry within a computer that carries out the instructions of a computer program by performing the basic arithmetic, logic, controlling, and input/output (I/O) operations specified by the instructions. The computer industry has used the term "central processing unit" at least since the early 1960s. Traditionally, the term "CPU" refers to a processor, more specifically to its processing unit and control unit (CU), distinguishing these core elements of a computer from external components such as main memory and I/O circuitry.
Memory-mapped I/O (MMIO) and port-mapped I/O (PMIO) are two complementary methods of performing input/output (I/O) between the central processing unit (CPU) and peripheral devices in a computer. An alternative approach is using dedicated I/O processors, commonly known as channels on mainframe computers, which execute their own instructions.
Computer programming is the process of designing and building an executable computer program for accomplishing a specific computing task. Programming involves tasks such as: analysis, generating algorithms, profiling algorithms' accuracy and resource consumption, and the implementation of algorithms in a chosen programming language. The source code of a program is written in one or more languages. The purpose of programming is to find a sequence of instructions that will automate the performance of a task on a computer, often for solving a given problem. The process of programming thus often requires expertise in several different subjects, including knowledge of the application domain, specialized algorithms, and formal logic.
An I/O interface is required whenever the I/O device is driven by a processor. Typically a CPU communicates with devices via a bus. The interface must have necessary logic to interpret the device address generated by the processor. Handshaking should be implemented by the interface using appropriate commands (like BUSY, READY, and WAIT), and the processor can communicate with an I/O device through the interface. If different data formats are being exchanged, the interface must be able to convert serial data to parallel form and vice versa. Because it would be a waste for a processor to be idle while it waits for data from an input device there must be provision for generating interrupts [ clarification needed ]and the corresponding type numbers for further processing by the processor if required.
In computer architecture, a bus is a communication system that transfers data between components inside a computer, or between computers. This expression covers all related hardware components and software, including communication protocols.
In telecommunications, a handshake is an automated process of negotiation between two communicating in between participants through the exchange of information that establishes the protocols of a communication link at the start of the communication, before full communication begins.The handshaking process usually takes place in order to establish rules for communication when a computer attempts to communicate with another device. Signals are usually exchanged between two devices to establish a communication link. For example, when a computer communicates with another device such as a modem, the two devices will signal each other that they are switched on and ready to work, as well as to agree to which protocols are being used.
In system programming, an interrupt is a signal to the processor emitted by hardware or software indicating an event that needs immediate attention. An interrupt alerts the processor to a high-priority condition requiring the interruption of the current code the processor is executing. The processor responds by suspending its current activities, saving its state, and executing a function called an interrupt handler to deal with the event. This interruption is temporary, and, after the interrupt handler finishes, the processor resumes normal activities. There are two types of interrupts: hardware interrupts and software interrupts (softirqs).
A computer that uses memory-mapped I/O accesses hardware by reading and writing to specific memory locations, using the same assembly language instructions that computer would normally use to access memory. An alternative method is via instruction-based I/O which requires that a CPU have specialised instructions for I/O.Both input and output devices have a data processing rate that can vary greatly. With some devices able to exchange data at very high speeds direct access to memory (DMA) without the continuous aid of a CPU is required.
Data processing is, generally, "the collection and manipulation of items of data to produce meaningful information." In this sense it can be considered a subset of information processing, "the change (processing) of information in any manner detectable by an observer."
Direct memory access (DMA) is a feature of computer systems that allows certain hardware subsystems to access main system memory, independent of the central processing unit (CPU).
Higher-level operating system and programming facilities employ separate, more abstract I/O concepts and primitives. For example, most operating systems provide application programs with the concept of files. The C and C++ programming languages, and operating systems in the Unix family, traditionally abstract files and devices as streams , which can be read or written, or sometimes both. The C standard library provides functions for manipulating streams for input and output.
In the context of the ALGOL 68 programming language, the input and output facilities are collectively referred to as transput. The ALGOL 68 transput library recognizes the following standard files/devices:
stand errors and
An alternative to special primitive functions is the I/O monad, which permits programs to just describe I/O, and the actions are carried out outside the program. This is notable because the I/O functions would introduce side-effects to any programming language, but this allows purely functional programming to be practical.
Channel I/O requires the use of instructions that are specifically designed to perform I/O operations. The I/O instructions address the channel or the channel and device; the channel asynchronously accesses all other required addressing and control information. This is similar to DMA, but more flexible.
Port-mapped I/O also requires the use of special I/O instructions. Typically one or more ports are assigned to the device, each with a special purpose. The port numbers are in a separate address space from that used by normal instructions.
Direct memory access (DMA) is a means for devices to transfer large chunks of data to and from memory independently of the CPU.
The control unit (CU) is a component of a computer's central processing unit (CPU) that directs the operation of the processor. It tells the computer's memory, arithmetic and logic unit and input and output devices how to respond to the instructions that have been sent to the processor.
The Intel 8080 ("eighty-eighty") was the second 8-bit microprocessor designed and manufactured by Intel and was released in April 1974. It is an extended and enhanced variant of the earlier 8008 design, although without binary compatibility. The initial specified clock frequency limit was 2 MHz, and with common instructions using 4, 5, 7, 10, or 11 cycles this meant that it operated at a typical speed of a few hundred thousand instructions per second. A faster variant 8080A-1 became available later with clock frequency limit up to 3.125 MHz.
A microcontroller is a small computer on a single integrated circuit. In modern terminology, it is similar to, but less sophisticated than, a system on a chip (SoC); an SoC may include a microcontroller as one of its components. A microcontroller contains one or more CPUs along with memory and programmable input/output peripherals. Program memory in the form of ferroelectric RAM, NOR flash or OTP ROM is also often included on chip, as well as a small amount of RAM. Microcontrollers are designed for embedded applications, in contrast to the microprocessors used in personal computers or other general purpose applications consisting of various discrete chips.
The UNIVAC 1100/2200 series is a series of compatible 36-bit computer systems, beginning with the UNIVAC 1107 in 1962, initially made by Sperry Rand. The series continues to be supported today by Unisys Corporation as the ClearPath Dorado Series. The solid-state 1107 model number was in the same sequence as the earlier vacuum-tube computers, but the early computers were not compatible with the solid-state successors.
A network interface controller is a computer hardware component that connects a computer to a computer network.
Programmed input/output (PIO) is a method of transferring data between the CPU and a peripheral, such as a network adapter or an ATA storage device. Each data item transfer is initiated by an instruction in the program, involving the CPU for every transaction. In contrast, in Direct Memory Access (DMA) operations, the CPU is not involved in the data transfer.
The Serial Peripheral Interface (SPI) is a synchronous serial communication interface specification used for short-distance communication, primarily in embedded systems. The interface was developed by Motorola in the mid-1980s and has become a de facto standard. Typical applications include Secure Digital cards and liquid crystal displays.
The instruction cycle is the cycle which the central processing unit (CPU) follows from boot-up until the computer has shut down in order to process instructions. It is composed of three main stages: the fetch stage, the decode stage, and the execute stage.
The Blackfin is a family of 16-/32-bit microprocessors developed, manufactured and marketed by Analog Devices. The processors have built-in, fixed-point digital signal processor (DSP) functionality supplied by 16-bit multiply–accumulates (MACs), accompanied on-chip by a microcontroller. It was designed for a unified low-power processor architecture that can run operating systems while simultaneously handling complex numeric tasks such as real-time H.264 video encoding.
In computer science, asynchronous I/O is a form of input/output processing that permits other processing to continue before the transmission has finished.
"Zero-copy" describes computer operations in which the CPU does not perform the task of copying data from one memory area to another. This is frequently used to save CPU cycles and memory bandwidth when transmitting a file over a network.
In computing, channel I/O is a high-performance input/output (I/O) architecture that is implemented in various forms on a number of computer architectures, especially on mainframe computers. In the past, channels were generally implemented with custom processors, variously named channel,peripheral processor, I/O processor, I/O controller, or DMA controller.
In computing, traditionally cycle stealing is a method of accessing computer memory (RAM) or bus without interfering with the CPU. It is similar to direct memory access (DMA) for allowing I/O controllers to read or write RAM without CPU intervention. Clever exploitation of specific CPU or bus timings can permit the CPU to run at full speed without any delay if external devices access memory not actively participating in the CPU's current activity and complete the operations before any possible CPU conflict. Such systems are nearly dual-port RAM without the expense of high speed RAM. Most systems halt the CPU during the steal, essentially making it a form of DMA by another name.
In computing, an input–output memory management unit (IOMMU) is a memory management unit (MMU) that connects a direct-memory-access–capable (DMA-capable) I/O bus to the main memory. Like a traditional MMU, which translates CPU-visible virtual addresses to physical addresses, the IOMMU maps device-visible virtual addresses to physical addresses. Some units also provide memory protection from faulty or malicious devices.
Intel 8237 is a direct memory access (DMA) controller, a part of the MCS 85 microprocessor family. It enables data transfer between memory and the I/O with reduced load on the system's main processor by providing the memory with control signals and memory address information during the DMA transfer.
This is a glossary of terms relating to computer hardware – physical computer hardware, architectural issues, and peripherals.