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See MIPS Run, 2nd Edition by Dominic Sweetman

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Chapter 5 Exceptions, Interrupts, and Initialization

In the MIPS architecture interrupts, traps, system calls, and everything else that can disrupt the normal flow of execution are called exceptions and are handled by a single mechanism. What sort of events are they?

imageExternal events: Some event outside the CPU core—that is, from some real “wire” input signal. These are interrupts.1 Interrupts are used to direct the attention of the CPU to some external event: an essential feature of an OS that attends to more than one different event at a time.

Interrupts are the only exception conditions that arise from something independent of the CPU’s normal ...

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