IO devices refer to any physical devices that interact with a CPU. The physical devices send signals to computers and receive information from computers. The role of IO software is to receive signals from physical devices, interpret them and then perform tasks accordingly through the operating system.
IO software refers to the code that interprets those signals and plans the execution of IO requests. There are different types of IO software to handle different tasks. Some IO requests can be processed by software that is more generic and meant for multiple devices.
For example, the software used to accomplish the request to retrieve and store data to a hard drive is similar to the software used to retrieve and store data from a USB. This type of software is referred to as device-independent software. Other IO requests can be processed by software that is designed for specific devices. This type of software is known as a device driver. An example of a device driver may be the software you install to your computer to be able to connect a printer.
In this module, we will dive deeper into the many layers of IO software along with its functions.
Take a look at the image to the right. It provides an example of how the CPU uses code to interpret the interactions a computer has with such a variety of IO devices.
Click Next when you’re ready to move on to the next exercise.