Input/Output

Input/Output

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Input/Output, often abbreviated as I/O, is a fundamental concept in computing that refers to the communication between an information processing system (like a computer) and the outside world, possibly a human or another information processing system. Inputs are the signals or data received by the system, and outputs are the signals or data sent from it.

Input: This is any data or instructions that are sent to a computer for processing. Input can come in a variety of forms, from commands you enter from the keyboard to data from another computer or device. A computer or device can also get input from other sources, like a computer mouse, light pen, game controller, scanner, or a digital camera.

Output: This is any data that a computer sends. Computers can output information in several different ways. Common output methods include a display on a screen, printed on paper, played through speakers or headphones, or sent to another device.

Different types of hardware are used for input and output. Keyboards and mice are examples of input devices, while monitors and printers are examples of output devices. Some devices, like disk drives and network interfaces, can be used for both input and output.

At a lower level, every running program involves the use of system calls that handle basic I/O operations. These operations could involve reading or writing to files, sending or receiving network packets, interfacing with device drivers, and so on. Managing I/O properly is a key aspect of operating system design.

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