In computing, an interrupt is an asynchronous signal indicating the need for attention or a synchronous event in software indicating the need for a change in execution.
A hardware interrupt causes the processor to save its state of execution and begin execution of an interrupt handler. Software interrupts are usually implemented as instructions in the instruction set, which cause a context switch to an interrupt handler similar to a hardware interrupt.
Interrupts are a commonly used technique for computer multitasking, especially in real-time computing. Such a system is said to be interrupt-driven.
An act of interrupting is referred to as an interrupt request (IRQ).
The part of a program (usually firmware, driver or operating system service) that deals with the interrupt is referred to as an interrupt service routine (ISR) or interrupt handler.
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