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In computing, input/output (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.
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.
The designation of a device as either input or output depends on perspective. Mice 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 computers output 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 further complication is that a device traditionally considered an input device, e.g., card reader, keyboard, may accept control commands to, e.g., select stacker, display keyboard lights, while a device traditionally considered as an output device may provide status data, e.g., low toner, out of paper, paper jam.
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.
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 the 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.
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 specialized 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.
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:
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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. A CU typically uses a binary decoder to convert coded instructions into timing and control signals that direct the operation of the other units.
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.
The Intel 8080 ("eighty-eighty") is the second 8-bit microprocessor designed and manufactured by Intel. It first appeared in April 1974 and is an extended and enhanced variant of the earlier 8008 design, although without binary compatibility. The initial specified clock rate or 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.
In digital computers, an interrupt is a response by the processor to an event that needs attention from the software. An interrupt condition alerts the processor and serves as a request for the processor to interrupt the currently executing code when permitted, so that the event can be processed in a timely manner. If the request is accepted, 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, unless the interrupt indicates a fatal error, the processor resumes normal activities after the interrupt handler finishes.
Direct memory access (DMA) is a feature of computer systems that allows certain hardware subsystems to access main system memory independently of the central processing unit (CPU).
The Intel 8085 ("eighty-eighty-five") is an 8-bit microprocessor produced by Intel and introduced in March 1976. It is a software-binary compatible with the more-famous Intel 8080 with only two minor instructions added to support its added interrupt and serial input/output features. However, it requires less support circuitry, allowing simpler and less expensive microcomputer systems to be built.
The MSP430 is a mixed-signal microcontroller family from Texas Instruments, first introduced on 14 February 1992. Built around a 16-bit CPU, the MSP430 is designed for low cost and, specifically, low power consumption embedded applications.
Programmed input–output is a method of data transmission, via input/output (I/O), between a central processing unit (CPU) and a peripheral device, such as a network adapter or a Parallel 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 uninvolved in the data transfer.
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.
A coprocessor is a computer processor used to supplement the functions of the primary processor. Operations performed by the coprocessor may be floating point arithmetic, graphics, signal processing, string processing, cryptography or I/O interfacing with peripheral devices. By offloading processor-intensive tasks from the main processor, coprocessors can accelerate system performance. Coprocessors allow a line of computers to be customized, so that customers who do not need the extra performance do not need to pay for it.
The HP 2100 is a series of 16-bit minicomputers that were produced by Hewlett-Packard (HP) from the mid-1960s to early 1990s. Tens of thousands of machines in the series were sold over its twenty-five year lifetime, making HP the fourth largest minicomputer vendor during the 1970s.
JTAG is an industry standard for verifying designs and testing printed circuit boards after manufacture.
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.
The Emotion Engine is a central processing unit developed and manufactured by Sony Computer Entertainment and Toshiba for use in the PlayStation 2 video game console. It was also used in early PlayStation 3 models sold in Japan and North America to provide PlayStation 2 game support. Mass production of the Emotion Engine began in 1999 and ended in late 2012 with the discontinuation of the PlayStation 2.
The Fairchild F8 is an 8-bit microprocessor system from Fairchild Semiconductor, announced in 1974 and shipped in 1975. The original processor family included four main 40-pin integrated circuits (ICs); the 3850 CPU which was the arithmetic logic unit, the 3851 Program Storage Unit (PSU) which contained 1 KB of program ROM and handled instruction decoding, and the 3852 Dynamic Memory Interface (DMI) or 3853 Static Memory Interface (SMI) to control additional RAM or ROM holding the user programs or data. The 3854 DMA was an optional system that added direct memory access into the RAM controlled by the 3852.
In computer science, asynchronous I/O is a form of input/output processing that permits other processing to continue before the transmission has finished.
The Low Pin Count (LPC) bus is a computer bus used on IBM-compatible personal computers to connect low-bandwidth devices to the CPU, such as the BIOS ROM, "legacy" I/O devices, and Trusted Platform Module (TPM). "Legacy" I/O devices usually include serial and parallel ports, PS/2 keyboard, PS/2 mouse, and floppy disk controller.
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 devices, variously named channel, I/O processor, I/O controller, I/O synchronizer, or DMA controller.
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 glossary of computer hardware terms is a list of definitions of terms and concepts related to computer hardware, i.e. the physical and structural components of computers, architectural issues, and peripheral devices.