Programmable Interrupt Controller

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Related to Programmable Interrupt Controller: Advanced Programmable Interrupt Controller

Programmable Interrupt Controller

(integrated circuit)
PIC A special-purpose integrated circuit that functions as an overall manager in an interrupt driven system. It accepts requests from the peripheral equipment, determines which of the incoming requests is of the highest priority, ascertains whether the incoming request has a higher priority value than the level currently being serviced, and issues an interrupt to the CPU based on this determination.

PICs typically have eight interrupt lines, and two PICs are often cascaded to provide 15 available interrupt lines.

See also: Advanced Programmable Interrupt Controller.


(1) (Programmable Interrupt Controller) An Intel 8259A chip that controls interrupts. Starting with the 286-based AT, there are two PICs in a PC, providing a total of 15 usable IRQs. The PIC has been superseded by an Advanced Programmable Interrupt Controller, or 82489DX chip, that is enhanced for multiprocessing. See IRQ.

(2) A family of 8-bit and 16-bit microcontrollers from Microchip Technology Inc., Chandler, AZ ( Used in myriad applications, PIC chips come in a wide variety of packages and configurations. PIC originally stood for "Peripheral Interface Controller." See microcontroller and MiWi.

(3) (Port Interface Card) An expansion card that plugs into a router to add network interfaces. PICs may have only one port or multiple ports of the same type.

(4) (Position Independent Code) Instructions that can be placed and executed anywhere in RAM.

(5) A telephone network ID code. See PIC code.

(6) Various image formats. See extension P.
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