Signal to a computer processor emitted by hardware or software / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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In digital computers, an interrupt (sometimes referred to as a trap)[1] is a request for the processor to interrupt currently executing code (when permitted), so that the event can be processed in a timely manner. If the request is accepted, the processor will suspend its current activities, save its state, and execute a function called an interrupt handler (or an interrupt service routine, ISR) to deal with the event. This interruption is often temporary, allowing the software to resume[lower-alpha 1] normal activities after the interrupt handler finishes, although the interrupt could instead indicate a fatal error.[2]

Interrupt sources and processor handling

Interrupts are commonly used by hardware devices to indicate electronic or physical state changes that require time-sensitive attention. Interrupts are also commonly used to implement computer multitasking, especially in real-time computing. Systems that use interrupts in these ways are said to be interrupt-driven.[3]