interrupt

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interrupt

the signal to initiate the stopping of the running of one computer program in order to run another, after which the running of the original program is usually continued

interrupt

[′int·ə‚rəpt]
(computer science)
To stop a running program in such a way that it can be resumed at a later time, and in the meanwhile permit some other action to be performed.
The action of such a stoppage.

interrupt

(programming)
1. An asynchronous event that suspends normal processing and temporarily diverts the flow of control through an "interrupt handler" routine.

Interrupts may be caused by both hardware (I/O, timer, machine check) and software (supervisor, system call or trap instruction).

In general the computer responds to an interrupt by storing the information about the current state of the running program; storing information to identify the source of the interrupt; and invoking a first-level interrupt handler. This is usually a kernel level privileged process that can discover the precise cause of the interrupt (e.g. if several devices share one interrupt) and what must be done to keep operating system tables (such as the process table) updated. This first-level handler may then call another handler, e.g. one associated with the particular device which generated the interrupt.

2. Under MS-DOS, nearly synonymous with "system call" because the OS and BIOS routines are both called using the INT instruction (see interrupt list) and because programmers so often have to bypass the operating system (going directly to a BIOS interrupt) to get reasonable performance.

interrupt

A signal that gets the attention of the CPU and is usually generated when I/O is required. For example, hardware interrupts are generated when a key is pressed or when the mouse is moved. Software interrupts are generated by a program requiring disk input or output.

An internal timer may continually interrupt the computer several times per second to keep the time of day current or for timesharing purposes.

When an interrupt occurs, control is transferred to the operating system, which determines the action to be taken. Interrupts are prioritized; the higher the priority, the faster the interrupt will be serviced.