Each I/O channel is assigned four memory
addresses in main memory or in logic circuitry
(registers) that replaces or overlays four
sequential main memory addresses. These four
addresses or registers are used to store the
External Interrupt Code Word
address n + 1 Input Data Word
address n + 2 Output Data Word
address n + 3 Channel Control/Status Word
These addresses also allow the IOC/CPU
to perform interrupt driven or polled I/O
operations. Addresses n + 1 and n + 2 can be
used as single word buffers for polled
operations with the channel status word (n+ 3)
acting as the status word for the CPU to
periodically sample (poll).
POLLED I/O. In polled I/O, the CPU must
regularly check or poll each channel or port in turn
to determine if it has information for input or is ready
to accept data for output. A flag register can be used to
check the ports status. Polling is time consuming. The
CPU must pause between executing processing
instructions and poll of each port. A ports status is
examined in case action is required by the computer.
We use a keyboard as an example of polled I/O. Figure
7-12 shows a read operation. The CPU reads or
receives 8-bit encoded characters as they are typed on
the keyboard. The CPU is programmed to read the
input characters from an external device, in this case a
keyboard. The keyboard inputs parallel 8-bit character
codes for each depression of the keys. Characters are
entered slowly as compared to the CPUs ability to
Figure 7-12.Polled I/O; read operation,
process them. The dedicated CPU has to wait until the
next character is entered each time.
The CPU is programmed with what is known as an
I/O wait loop.
As the CPU executes the loop
instructions, it periodically (say 20 times a second)
checks the status code from the keyboard to see if a
character has been entered. A data register, INBUF, in
the keyboard interface receives the character data from
the keyboard. It holds the data until read by the CPU.
A status register, INSTATCODE, indicates whether
there is a new character in the INBUF register. By
continuously testing the status register, the CPU detects
when the code for a data entry is present. The CPU then
executes the instructions to transfer the data from the
data register to the specified location in the computer.
Once this has completed, the CPU returns to the wait
loop and polling process. The same procedure can be
used for output or write operations. Figure 7-13 shows
an output operation. In this case, the data is moved from
a computer location to the data output buffer of the
One of the disadvantages with polled I/O is that it
involves the CPU throughout the input/output process.
This is wasteful of CPU time. The CPU spends time
executing input/output instructions that it could be
spending performing other operations. Direct CPU
interface has its place, particularly in small computers
that are not concerned with high-speed operations and
processing very large amounts of data. Most of the
larger computers, however, use interrupt driven I/O.
INTERRUPT DRIVEN I/O. The interrupt
technique requires more complex hardware and
software, but makes far more efficient use of the
computers time and capacities. In an interrupt driven
I/O, the I/O section itself is capable of accessing
memory via the computer communication buses. The
I/O processor can, while conducting I/O operations,
Figure 7-13.Polled I/O; write operation.