Interrupt is a process used in computing to allow one process to request the usage of a computer’s resources from another process. It is a signal that initiates a process to manage input/output operations, process a request from a user, initiate various system tasks, and provide a mechanism to gain access to an operating system.
An interrupt is transmitted by a processor when an event is detected, such as a hardware signal, or a user’s input. It is often used to communicate between two or more components or programs, such as an application and the operating system.
In virtually all computer systems, interrupts serve several functions:
• Alert the processor that an input/output request or other task is pending.
• Enable communications between components of a system or computer.
• Allow access to different hardware devices so that the processor can gain access to system parameters, variables, and other resources.
• Provide a way for a process to request access to system resources.
• Enable processing applications to be paused so that a higher priority process can take priority over the existing ones.
Interrupts are typically handled by an interrupt controller, which is a device that manages all the interrupts to the processor. The processor signals the interrupt controller when an event needs to be serviced. This process is known as an interrupt vector. The interrupt vector typically contains the address of the interrupt service routine (ISR), which is the code that is executed when the interrupt is triggered.
In modern systems, interrupts are managed via specialized hardware called an interrupt controller. These are programmable devices that can be used to route and prioritize different types of interrupts. They may also be used to mask interrupts so that the processor isn’t overloaded by constantly needing to respond to each interrupt.
Interrupts are important in computer programming since they allow the processor to work on one task while another task is being handled. This allows for efficient use of processor time and an efficient way of marshaling system resources.